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Family of teenager Tyre Sampson who fell to his death from Florida amusement park ride

The family of a teen who died after falling from a Florida amusement park ride has backed a bill of the same name to improve rider safety on what would have been his 15th birthday.

14-year-old Tire Sampson was nearly 100 pounds over the ride’s 287 lb. weight limit when he was thrown off the 430 ft Orlando FreeFall ride at ICON Park in March 2022.

The six-foot football player was turned away from other attractions for his 383-pound height when he came to visit on spring break from St. Louis Missouri.

According to a manual produced by the ride’s manufacturer, Funtime Thrill Rides, the maximum weight allowed for Orlando FreeFall is listed as 130 kilograms or 286 pounds.

Tire started to panic as the ride went up and said to his friends sitting next to him, ‘I don’t know man, if I don’t make it safe then can you please tell my mom and dad I love them. ‘

His friends and family gathered on Wednesday to celebrate what would have been the teen’s 15th birthday, and his family is calling for the ride to be removed permanently.

State Representative Geraldine Thompson also announced that she would be enacting the ‘Tyre Sampson Law’ to improve rider safety on fairground rides in the next legislative session.

Sampson’s parents have sued the attraction’s owner, manufacturer, and lessor for negligently failing to provide a safe amusement ride.

Tire Sampson's family (pictured), 14, of Missouri, gathered to celebrate what would have been his 15th birthday.  Sampson found to be 96 pounds overweight for the FreeFall ride

Tire Sampson’s family (pictured), 14, of Missouri, gathered to celebrate what would have been his 15th birthday. Sampson found to be 96 pounds overweight for the FreeFall ride

Sampson was seen falling out of the ride in March after his seat belt was not properly fastened by staff members

Sampson was seen falling out of the ride in March after his seat belt was not properly fastened by staff members

Sampson was seen falling out of the ride in March after his seat belt was not properly fastened by staff members

State Representative Geraldine Thompson announced she would be enacting the 'Tyre Sampson Law' to improve rider safety on fairground rides in the next legislative session

State Representative Geraldine Thompson announced she would be enacting the 'Tyre Sampson Law' to improve rider safety on fairground rides in the next legislative session

State Representative Geraldine Thompson announced she would be enacting the ‘Tyre Sampson Law’ to improve rider safety on fairground rides in the next legislative session

Sampson's death was deemed an accident by the Orange County Medical Examiner's Office

Sampson's death was deemed an accident by the Orange County Medical Examiner's Office

Sampson’s death was deemed an accident by the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office

The lawsuit said the defendants had not warned Sampson of the risks of someone his size going on the ride and that they failed to provide an appropriate restraint system.

Yarnell Sampson, his father, said, “I try to give proper respect to the dead. He deserved it because he didn’t volunteer to die.

“He signed up to go for a ride and have fun and it led to something else, which was my only child. That was my everything.

“He would have been 15 years old. He was born on August 17, 2007. When he was born, he was a star to me. He will always be a star.’

An investigation into Sampson’s death found the driver of the ride made “manual adjustments” to a pair of seats to allow him to step into the ride.

Exact details of the proposed bill are unclear as it has yet to be introduced, but it is not expected to allow safety sensors to be modified above factory maximum settings.

It is also expected that the requirements for safety signage will be increased.

Tire Sampson was an aspiring soccer player and honors roll student.  His life was cut short on March 24 when he crashed during an ICON Free Fall ride in Orlando

Tire Sampson was an aspiring soccer player and honors roll student.  His life was cut short on March 24 when he crashed during an ICON Free Fall ride in Orlando

Tire Sampson was an aspiring soccer player and honors roll student. His life was cut short on March 24 when he crashed during an ICON Free Fall ride in Orlando

The teen's seat sensors had to be manually adjusted to fit Sampson and video of the event appears to show the teen's harness is loose

The teen's seat sensors had to be manually adjusted to fit Sampson and video of the event appears to show the teen's harness is loose

The teen’s seat sensors had to be manually adjusted to fit Sampson and video of the event appears to show the teen’s harness is loose

State-of-the-art sensors monitoring the three-month-old ride would normally have alerted operators to the fact that the gap was abnormally large

State-of-the-art sensors monitoring the three-month-old ride would normally have alerted operators to the fact that the gap was abnormally large

State-of-the-art sensors monitoring the three-month-old ride would normally have alerted operators to the fact that the gap was abnormally large

Thompson said, “The things that happened here were extraordinary. Seats that are adjusted after approval after approval, that was not normal.

“It was extraordinary that the young people driving the ride were not properly trained, that was not normal.

“It was extraordinary that the signs regarding height and weight requirements were not put up for Tire to make its own decision – that was not normal.”

If passed by the legislature and signed into law, the bill will come into effect on July 1, 2023.

Sampson had been concerned about the harness before the ride, his father said, telling his friends sitting next to him to tell his parents he loved them.

The grieving Yarnell said Tire panicked and shared a chilling premonition with his two best friends, who sat next to him during the ride.

A Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services investigation into the tragedy found that the safety sensors had been manually adjusted to leave a wider gap between the seat and the harness before falling.

A Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services investigation into the tragedy found that the safety sensors had been manually adjusted to leave a wider gap between the seat and the harness before falling.

A Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services investigation into the tragedy found that the safety sensors had been manually adjusted to leave a wider gap between the seat and the harness before falling.

The footballer's family is now suing the ride owner, manufacturer and lessor for negligence for failing to provide a 'safe' ride

The footballer's family is now suing the ride owner, manufacturer and lessor for negligence for failing to provide a 'safe' ride

The footballer’s family is now suing the ride owner, manufacturer and lessor for negligence for failing to provide a ‘safe’ ride

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspectors investigate FreeFall ride after Sampson's death

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspectors investigate FreeFall ride after Sampson's death

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspectors investigate FreeFall ride after Sampson's death

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspectors investigate FreeFall ride after Sampson's death

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspectors investigate FreeFall ride after Sampson’s death

According to the ride’s owner’s manual, attendants should also manually check the seat belts when loading a guest, pulling on them to make sure it’s locked. The ride will not ascend unless the riders are locked in their seats.

The operating manual also suggests that employees should “be careful” and make sure that “big guests fit in the seats.”

The legal representation of The Slingshot Group, the company that owns the ride that Sampson fell off, has expressed support for the proposed bill.

A woman who called 911 told a dispatcher that Sampson was lying face down, unresponsive and appeared to have broken his arms and legs.

Another man told a 911 dispatcher that the teen had no pulse, with an autopsy later determining that Sampson died of blunt force trauma and his death was deemed an “accident.”

In 2021, a service technician improperly connected to a safety device plunged 225 feet to his death during a neighboring ride in the park, the 450-foot-tall StarFlyer swing ride.

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