Video of Tyre Sampson falling is one of the worst tragedies he's ever seen, attorney Ben Crump says

ByAmir Vera and Melissa Alonso, CNN
Thursday, April 7, 2022
Accident report in teen's Florida park ride death says seat was locked
Tyre Sampson fell from the FreeFall drop tower that takes riders up 430 feet and then drops, according to ICON Park in Orlando.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Attorney Ben Crump said Tuesday that the video of a 14-year-old boy falling to his death at a Florida amusement park is one of the worst he's ever seen.

The video featured is from a previous report.

Tyre Sampson died in March after falling from the FreeFall drop tower ride at Orlando's ICON Park. The FreeFall takes riders up and then drops them nearly 400 feet at speeds that reach more than 75 mph, according to the park.

Crump, who represents Sampson's father, toured a portion of the park Tuesday while investigators were seen inspecting the ride, which has been sectioned off by a security barricade and adorned by a make-shift memorial.

"Other than George Floyd's tragic torture video, I think this is the worst tragedy captured on video that I've ever seen," Crump said. "We're doing a thorough investigation into the tragic killing of this 14-year-old child. This was completely preventable."

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The attorney did not offer any additional details on the video or the incident, CNN reported.

The state agency investigating the incident, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), has hired a forensic engineering firm to help with the investigation, FDACS commissioner Nikki Fried said Friday.

The firm, Florida-based Quest Engineering and Failure Analysis, will "basically reenact the scene and come to the conclusions of what happened," Fried said.

The seat Sampson was in during the ride was "still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped," according to an accident report filed by the operator with FDACS' fair rides divison.

The teen came out of the seat when the magnets engaged to slow the ride during the descent, according to the report, which was based on ride employee witnesses and was obtained by CNN. The report named three witnesses, all listed as employees.

There are also questions around whether the teenager may have been too large to be allowed on the ride. His father, Yarnell Sampson, raised that question a day after his son's death, telling CNN: "My son was 6'5, 340. So, he's a big guy."

The ride's operations and maintenance manual, which has been posted online by the FDACS, indicates 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.

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It's not clear whether the younger Sampson fit the contours of the seat or if the bracket fit properly.

The FreeFall ride is closed while the fatal incident is being investigated. Last week, Slingshot Group said it had suspended another of its rides at the park, the SlingShot.

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