Teen Who Fell From Drop-Tower Ride Exceeded Weight Limit by Nearly 100 Pounds: Autopsy Report

Gary Bai
By Gary Bai
June 14, 2022US News
Teen Who Fell From Drop-Tower Ride Exceeded Weight Limit by Nearly 100 Pounds: Autopsy Report
Tyre Sampson in a file photo. (Courtesy of Yarnell Sampson)

An autopsy report released by the Orange County Medical Examiner’s office on Monday revealed that a Missouri teenager who fell from a 430-foot drop-tower ride in the ICON Park in Orlando, Florida, weighed more than the weight limit recommended by the ride’s operation manual.

The autopsy report stated that 14-year-old Tyre Sampson, who played football, was 383 pounds when he fell out of his seat as the gondola on the Orlando Free Fall drop tower plunged down from a height of 430 feet, according to WFTV Channel 9.

However, an operation and maintenance manual authored by Funtime Handels GmbH. and published by WFLA Channel 8 indicated that the maximum recommended weight for a passenger riding the Orlando Free Fall ride is 130 kilograms, or 287 pounds, which Sampson’s weight exceeded by nearly 100 pounds.

Sampson was on a spring break vacation with his friend’s family in Orlando when the tragedy happened, according to a GoFundMe page started by Sampson’s mother.

He was rushed to a hospital after the fall, where he died from his injuries, according to an undated statement from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office published on ICON Park’s website.

“No Mother wants to get the call that I received that night and find out that my son died in such a horrific way. There is no money or compensation that will make up for my son’s death; I am raising funds for any extra funeral expenses, food, therapy, clothing, anything that helps my situation,” his mother wrote on Sampson’s GoFundMe page.

According to an April 18 statement published on the ICON park website, another aspect that could have contributed to Sampson’s tragic death is a misadjusted sensor.

“We are deeply troubled that the preliminary findings of the State’s investigation, released today, indicate a sensor on the Orlando FreeFall attraction, which is owned and operated by the SlingShot Group, had been mis-adjusted after the sensor was originally secured in place,” the statement reads.

Sampson’s family has filed a lawsuit against the drop tower’s owner, manufacturer, and landlord, alleging negligence and strict liabilities. They hired injury lawyers Ben Crump and Bob Hilliard.

“Families have the right to expect these national theme parks, making millions of dollars, will keep their children safe and will put that safety above all else. Every parent who sees this horrific video can’t help but think the same thing, ‘That could have been my child,’” Hilliard said in a March 26 statement.

“What unimaginable terror did 14-year-old Tyre experience as he slipped out of his unsecured harness and fell helplessly towards his own death?”

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