Tire Sampson was only 14 years old when he died last Thursday after falling from the tower Orlando Free Fall at ICON Park from Orlando, Fla. It is investigated if they should not have let him go up because of its weight, the reason why he was not allowed to ride two other attractions that same day.
Before boarding the ride that would cost him his life, Sampson spoke on the phone with cousin Shay Johnson, who told CNN affiliate Spectrum News 13 that this was her third attempt to ride something.
Shortly after trying to ride the first attraction, she called her cousin again and told her: “They said I’m too big. I can’t ride”.
His cousin never imagined that these would be his last conversations: “I didn’t know it was the last time I would talk to him alive,” he said in the interview.
The teenager was a standout football player and loved ones described him as ” a gentle giant with a good heart.”
Tire’s father, Yarnell Sampson, gave his son’s measurements to CNN: “My son was 6’5″, 340. So, he was a big guy.”
The attraction’s operations and maintenance manual states that the maximum weight allowed is about 287 pounds. The document has been published online by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
What’s more, the manual explicitly asks workers to take care that larger people fit correctly in the seats, both in the contour and in the harnesses they hold. “If this is not so, do not let that person ride”indicates the document.
The operator of the attraction, Slingshot Group, has not confirmed at the moment if the young man met those requirements or that he had been denied boarding other attractions due to his size.
Slingshot Group Attractions Closed While Investigated
The seat was in its place when the attraction stopped after the fall of the young man. The condition of the harnesses they hold is now being investigated to determine what went wrong, why he did it and how it could have been prevented.
The event occurred at ICON Park, located in the tourist district of Orlando. The young man did not die on the spot.: He was treated at the scene and then taken to the hospital, where he died of his injuries, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
The young man was from Missouri and was in Orlando visiting with friends and family. “Based on preliminary investigations, everything indicates that it was a terrible accident“, said last Friday the police chief.
Sampson fell from the Orlando Free Fall attraction, which began operating last December and is touted as the tallest free fall tower in the world.
John Stine, director of sales and marketing for Slingshot Group, the company that owns the attraction, lamented the event and said they are cooperating with authorities.
“We operate with all safety precautions in mind. Everything is in place and that is why we are doing this investigation,” Stine said, according to the chain’s Orlando affiliate. FoxNews.
orlandofreefall, 430 feet (131 meters) tallhas capacity for up to 30 people, which are raised and then released into a free fall of more than 75 miles per hour (120 km/h) speedaccording to the description on the park’s website.
The attraction, like the Orlando Sling Shot, both owned by the Slingshot Group, are closed indefinitely while the investigation continues.
In September 2020, a 21-year-old man died after falling from ICON Park’s StarFlyer attraction while performing a safety inspection at about 230 feet (70 meters), according to local channel WKMG.