Tyre Sampson’s Parents file lawsuit in amusement park fatal disaster

by Ezekiel J. Walker
Tyre Sampson's Parents file lawsuit in amusement park fatal disaster
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Tyre Sampson, 14, died after falling from a ride at ICON Park in Orlando FL on March 24. His parents filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit on Monday.

Nicole “Nikki’ Fried, the Florida commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, recently announced the findings of a forensic engineer’s field investigation report on the March 24 incident that killed Tyre Sampson of St. Louis, Missouri.

According to ABC News, Tyre Sampson’s father, Yarnell Sampson, filed the lawsuit in the 9th Circuit Court in Orange County, Florida, accusing ICON Park in Orlando and other defendants, including the manufacturer and the operator of the FreeFall thrill ride, of negligence.

“Tyre had a long and prosperous life in front of him that was cut short by this tragic event,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also alleges the ride’s operators should have known that riders could be “subject to unreasonably dangerous and foreseeable risks, and that serious injury and death of the occupants in the ride could result.”

The report by Quest Engineering & Failure Analysis, Inc., said manual manipulations were made to the seat Sampson was sitting in to allow the harness restraint opening to be loosened, apparently to accommodate the more than 300-pound teenager.

Fried said the harness restraint opening was “almost double that of a normal restraint opening range.”

Per ABC News, officials recently listed operator error as the primary suspected cause in the death of Sampson, who slipped out of his seat on the drop-tower ride and fell more than 100 feet to the pavement.

Orlando Slingshot releases statement.

“Orlando Slingshot continues to fully cooperate with the State during its investigation, and we will continue to do so until it has officially concluded,” Trevor Arnold, attorney for Orlando Slingshot, said in a statement to ABC News. “We reiterate that all protocols, procedures and safety measures provided by the manufacturer of the ride were followed. We look forward to working with the Florida legislature to implement change in the industry and we are also supportive of the concepts outlined by State Representative Geraldine Thompson to make changes to state law through the ‘Tyre Sampson Bill’ to prevent a tragic accident like this from ever happening again.”

Tyre Sampson died a preventable death according to parents.

Click Orlando reports the lawsuit states there were no seatbelts available on the ride, which would have cost operators of Orlando FreeFall $22 per seat for a combined $660 for all seats. It also claims the manufacturer and operator of the ride should have made sure:

  • There were visible warnings for riders about height and weight restrictions.
  • The ride should not have been able to function if all riders were not properly secured.
  • No one should have been able to manipulate or adjust proximity sensors.
  • A monitoring system should have been installed to make sure all rider restraints were properly secured.
  • A mechanism should have been installed to stop the ride if a restraint was not properly secured.

Sampson’s parents are scheduled to hold a news conference with their attorneys Tuesday to discuss their legal actions.

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