Drop Tower FreeFall ride in Orlando to be torn down following 14-year-old boy's death in March

Tyre Sampson wasn't properly secured in seat, investigation determined
Orlando Drop Tower at ICON Park, March 28
Posted at 1:05 PM, Oct 06, 2022

ORLANDO, Fla. — The owners of an Orlando ride announced Thursday they will tear down a 400-foot-tall attraction following the death of a 14-year-old boy earlier this year.

Orlando Slingshot, the owner of the Drop Tower FreeFall ride at ICON Park, made the decision after the March 24 death of Tyre Sampson.

The Missouri teen was visiting central Florida with his friend's family when he fell from the ride.

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"We are devastated by Tyre's death. We have listened to the wishes of Tyre's family and the community, and have made the decision to take down the FreeFall," Ritchie Armstrong, an Orlando Slingshot spokesman, said. "In addition, Orlando Slingshot will honor Tyre and his legacy in the classroom and on the football field by creating a scholarship in his name."

Tyre Sampson, died after falling from the FreeFall Drop Tower ride at Icon Park in Orlando in March 2022
Tyre Sampson died after falling from the FreeFall Drop Tower Ride at ICON Park in Orlando on March 24, 2022.

Orlando Slingshot leases land from ICON Park, which also supported the decision to take down the ride. 

"Tyre's death is a tragedy that we will never forget. As the landlord, ICON Park welcomes and appreciates Orlando Slingshot's decision to take down the ride," ICON Park representatives said in a statement.

The timeline for taking down the FreeFall ride will be determined by the approvals of all involved parties and regulatory entities.

State officials determined in April that the teen was "not properly secured" in his seat at the time of the incident.

Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services hired a forensic engineer — Quest Engineering and Failure Analysis — to assist with the investigation this year. That company has determined the ride's operator made "manual adjustments" to the attraction, resulting in it being "unsafe."