According to his cousin, the teen who died last week after falling from an amusement park ride in Florida was turned away from two other rides at the park because of his size.
According to ICON Park, where the incident occurred, Tyre Sampson fell Thursday from the Orlando FreeFall drop tower, which takes riders up and then drops them nearly 400 feet at speeds of more than 75 mph.
Tyre, 14, spoke with Shay Johnson on the phone just before boarding the FreeFall drop tower at the park, she said in an interview.
Tyre told her that Johnson dropped him off at the park and that he wanted to ride the swing. “I said ‘OK. Ride it twice, and ride it for me, too,'” Johnson said.
“He called me back about 7 minutes later. He said ‘They said I’m too big. I can’t ride,'” Johnson said in the interview.
Tyre’s father, Yarnell Sampson, has also raised the question of his son’s size, said on Friday: “My son was 6’5,” 340. So, he’s a big guy.”
Tyre was told to try another ride, the SlingShot, by Johnson, but he was also told he was too big. He informed her that he was going to try one more ride.
The Orlando FreeFall was the name of the event. “‘They let me ride,’ he said when he called me. I’m a good rider. ‘I can ride,’ she says “He had told her before she got on it, she remembered.
“I had no idea it would be my last conversation with him. He simply wanted to ride and have fun “she stated
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has posted the ride’s operations and maintenance manual online, which states that the maximum passenger weight is 130 kilograms (approximately 287 pounds).
“Be careful when seeing if large guests fit into the seats. Check that they fit within the contours of the seat and the bracket fits properly. If this is not so — Do not let this person ride,” the manual states.
“Harness was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped,” said the report filed by the operator with the fair rides division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
According to the report, which was based on ride employee witnesses, Tyre came out of the seat when the magnets engaged to slow the ride during the descent.
Three employees were named as witnesses in the report.
It’s unclear whether Tyre conformed to the contours of the seat or whether the bracket was properly installed.
A person falls from their seat about five seconds into the ride’s drop, perhaps about two-thirds of the way down, as the ride slowed as it approached the ground, according to video circulating on social media purportedly from the ICON Park incident.
While the accident is being investigated, the FreeFall ride is closed. Slingshot Group announced on Tuesday that another of its rides, the SlingShot, had been suspended. “We are heartbroken by the loss of Tyre Sampson and absolutely devastated for his family and loved ones,” the group said in a statement.
“We have suspended the operations of the FreeFall ride and the Slingshot ride at Icon Park. We are fully cooperating with the authorities at the state and local levels who are investigating this tragic incident. We plan on providing additional information in the coming days, as we learn more,” the statement said.
ICON Park on Monday said it had demanded that Slingshot Group suspend them both “until such time as a thorough investigation by the appropriate authorities has been completed and all parties are satisfied that the rides are safe for the public.”