Family of Tyre Sampson demand ride from which he fell to his death be torn down
“What if it was your son?” asked a local activist on Monday, using a megaphone to demand that the "death trap" Free Fall be demolished.
The family of Tyre Sampson is calling for the Orlando Free Fall at ICON Park to be torn down.
It has been less than three months since the 14-year-old boy fell to his death from the amusement park ride, and, according to The Orlando Sentinel, his father visited the site this past weekend and told the newspaper, “I came up here to get my peace.”
But Yarnell Sampson found that there were no longer any mementos of his son. “I just wanted to know, did the people know that a young man actually died right here?” he contended. “It blew my mind that eight out of 10 I asked didn’t know. They had no clue.”
On Monday, members of the Sampson family, their attorney Benjamin Crump, as well as Florida state Rep. Geraldine Thompson called for the ride to be torn down.
“These companies cannot be allowed to get away with this,” said Crump. “To SlingShot Group, to ICON Park, executives, you all cannot simply sweep this under the rug as if Tyre Sampson’s death doesn’t matter.”
“What if it was your son?” Juneteenth Project Coalition founder Tina Wilson asked on Monday, using a megaphone to demand that the Free Fall be demolished and begging onlookers to protest aside her. “We don’t want this death trap in our community.”
In April, the Sampson family filed a lawsuit against several companies responsible for manufacturing and maintaining the ride.
Autopsy results found that when the teen fell to his death on March 24, he was more than 90 pounds over the ride’s weight limit, and an investigation has found that seat straps on the ride had been changed.
Rep. Thompson informed the crowd Monday of a proposed “Tyre Sampson bill,” which will take into account the safety record of any company that wants to build an operate a ride like the Free Fall. In addition, Thompson decried the SlingShot Group, which has already signed paperwork to open another ride at the amusement park.
“They want to open a second ride as if Tyre Sampson’s life was inconsequential,” Thompson said. “They are acting as if they are tone-deaf by saying they are going to open a second ride. There will be no second ride for the SlingShot Group.”
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