The father of the teenage boy who devastatingly fell to his death on a 430-foot tower ride at a Florida amusement park said this week he learned of his son’s tragic demise through social media.
Fourteen-year-old Tyre Sampson now-infamously fell from the free fall drop at ICON Park in Orlando last Thursday. According to CNN, the young teenager, who was 6’5” and weighed 340 pounds, “came out of the seat” when the ride’s magnets “engaged to slow the ride during the descent.”
During an interview with WESH-TV, Tyre’s father, Yarnell Sampson, said he learned about his son’s devastating death through social media, where video of the tragedy had gone viral.
“I just lost — I lost — lost wind,” the grieving father said. “And the pain behind it could never be taken away, and sorry’s not gonna take it back and no money’s, no nothing in the world to replace the young man. … It’s just sad. A young man’s bright future was taken away form him over a ride, an amusement park.”
“I wish I was there to tell him I love him, that I’m sorry,” Sampson added. “For him to lose his life. So young. And I wish it was me.”
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The attorney representing the Sampsons, Benjamin Crump, said Tyre dreamed of one day becoming a professional football player.
“This young man was the kind of son everyone hopes for — an honor roll student, an aspiring athlete, and a kind-hearted person who cared about others,” said Crump.
A report from the fair rides division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services determined the safety harness “was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped.”
The report investigated whether the teenager was too overweight for the ride.
“The ride’s operations [and] maintenance manual, which has been posted online by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, indicates the maximum passenger weight of 130 kilograms (approximately 287 pounds),” stated the report.
The manual for the amusement ride notes: “Be careful when seeing if large guests fit into the seats. Check that they fit within the contours of the seat and the bracket fits properly. If this is not so — do not let this person ride.”
Please be in prayer for the Sampson family, the amusement park workers who were operating the ride at the time of the incident, others who were riding the tower, and the officials investigating the tragic situation.
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