Tyre Sampson’s mother: Death on FreeFall could have been prevented

ORLANDO, Fla. — For the first time, we are hearing from the mother of a teen who lost his life riding Orlando FreeFall at ICON Park on International Drive.


A memorial has been growing at the base of the tower ever since 14-year-old Tyre Sampson died in March while visiting from St. Louis.

READ: 9 things to know about the Orlando FreeFall at ICON Park

“This could have been prevented, it should have been prevented,” Nekia Dodd, Sampson’s mother, told “Good Morning America.” “As an operator, you have a job to check those rides. The video I saw, that was not done, and if it was done, it should have been done more than once.”

Sampson was turned away from the Slingshot and Starflyer because of his size, but workers allowed him on the FreeFall Tower.

READ: Tyre Sampson death: Lawsuit claims that Orlando drop ride at ICON Park was ‘unreasonably dangerous’

An investigation by state officials found that workers adjusted the safety sensors to allow Sampson’s harness to indicate it was locked and closed when it wasn’t.

The ride also didn’t have seat belts for the seats.

READ: Investigators say Tyre Sampson’s restraint was modified to allow larger visitors on Orlando FreeFall

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.