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Sampson came from Missouri to Florida to visit ICON Park, where he rode the Orlando Free Fall ride, a 430-foot drop tower, last Thursday.
During the ride, Sampson “came out” of his seat, according to an accident report released by the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The report noted that Sampson’s “harness was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped.”
Sampson was taken to a local hospital, where he died from “multiple injuries and trauma.”
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said during a press conference that police believe the death was accidental, and that there is an ongoing investigation.
“It felt like somebody hit me so hard in my stomach,” he explained. “I just lost, I lost wind. And the pain behind it could never be taken away, and sorry’s not gonna take it back and no monies, no nothing in the world to replace the young man.”
“And it’s just sad, a young man’s bright future was taken away from him over a ride, an amusement park,” Yarnell added.
Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing Yarnell, praised Sampson for his accomplishments in his short lifetime.
“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,” Crump said to CBS News.
AJ Jones, the youth football coach for the Bad Boyz Football team and who coached Sampson, told Orlando TV station WKMG that he was a straight-A student. Sampson was a lineman set to play at East St. Louis High School.
ICON Park posted a statement on their website, writing, “tonight, the ICON Park family is grieving because of the tragedy involving Tyre Sampson. Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family and friends. ICON Park is committed to being a place where families can spend quality time together in a safe and fun space.”
“We are in close coordination and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and regulators regarding our tenant, the SlingShot Group,” they concluded.
The Sampson family advocated for the Orlando Free Fall ride to be shut down permanently.“I would like this ride to be taken down. My cousin lost his life over this ride,” Shay Johnson, Sampson’s cousin, told Orlando Fox station WOFL. “I don’t feel it’s safe, and feel it should be shut down before someone else’s family have to go through what we are going through.”