ORLANDO, Fla. — The contrasts between the cries of emotion and a balloon-bearing dancing heart did not overshadow the message repeated again and again by family, friends and supporters of Tyre Sampson: Icon Park should tear down Orlando FreeFall
“God, we pray that you shut this whole thing down,” a minister preached, raising her palms to the sky as the red metallic tower loomed behind her.
Thursday night, Sampson, a 14-year-old football player from Missouri, slipped from his seat an fell dozens of feet from the ride and died after the ride’s nearly 340-foot drop.
An accident report released Monday showed the ride was in good working order, but Sampson was around 60 pounds heavier than the maximum weight recommended by the manufacturer.
Additionally, the manufacturer’s guidelines warned passengers who didn’t fit in the seat or harness should not ride the attraction.
Sampson’s cousin, Shay Johnson, said attendants at other rides in the park had turned him away that night.
“You told him he couldn’t get on the swing. You told me he couldn’t get on the slingshot,” she said. “So, why did you allow him to get on this if he was overweight?”
She and other family members want the ride replaced by a statue of Sampson wearing his football uniform, or the uniform of the Miami Dolphins, his favorite team.
Then, they invited strangers like Ricky Martinez, an Orange County resident, to share their thoughts.
“It’s been open for three, four months only, and this has happened already, so they could’ve prevented this,” he said. “I hope they get everything that’s coming toward them.”
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