Did teen's big size factor in Orlando amusement ride death?

Tyre Sampson, 14, fell to his death at ICON Park
Deputy stands outside Orlando Free Fall ride at ICON Park after 14-year-old died
Posted at 3:55 PM, Mar 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-26 21:33:44-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A rising middle school football player in Missouri, only 14 but already 6 feet, 5 inches tall and well over 300 pounds, Tyre Sampson fell to his death fell to his death from a towering Orlando amusement ride.

Lawyers for his family want to know if negligence about his size, or other factors, played a role.

Investigators on Saturday continued to examine what happened Thursday night when Sampson dropped out of his seat from a 430-foot, free-fall amusement park ride that is taller than the Statue of Liberty along a busy street in the heart of Orlando's tourist district, not far from Disney World.

The ICON Park attraction said in a statement it is fully cooperating with investigators and that the Orlando Free Fall ride will be closed indefinitely. It opened late last year on International Drive, a major tourist mecca.

Orange County Sheriff's Office investigates 14-year-old boy's death at ICON Park
The Orange County Sheriff's Office is investigating the March 24, 2022, death of a 14-year-old boy at ICON Park in Orlando, Fla.

"We are heartbroken with the incident that took the life of one of our guests. We extend our condolences and deepest sympathy to his family and friends," said a statement from the SlingShot Group, which operates the ride.

Tyre was part of a group called the St. Louis Bad Boyz football club who were in Orlando for a weeklong training camp, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The group had chaperones and, by all accounts, were doing what millions do every year during spring break in Orlando: enjoying the theme parks and rides.