Updated as of 10/7/2022 at 9:30 a.m. ET
The father of Tyre Sampson, Yarnell, and civil rights attorney Ben Crump previously called for the dismantling of the drop tower ride that caused Tyre to fall to his death. Now, their wish has been granted as the ride operator announced Thursday its permanent close, NBC News.
Ritchie Armstrong from Orlando Slingshot, the operator of the FreeFall ride, announced the attraction’s closure in a statement. “We are devastated by Tyre’s death. We have listened to the wishes of Tyre’s family and the community, and have made the decision to take down the FreeFall,” he said.
Reports say Tyre, 14, visited ICON Park in Orlando during his spring break this year. He was 100 pounds overweight for the FreeFall ride, however, an investigation found a ride operator manually adjusted his seat before he boarded. Tyre fell from the 430-foot ride and videos of the incident went viral on social media as bystanders shouted concerned about his seatbelt.
Per an ABC News report, Yarnell he feared his son’s death will be forgotten or more lives will be in danger if the ride was still in operation.
More on the announcement from NBC News:
The timeline to remove the ride is not immediately clear, said the statement, which notes that it will require the approval of “all involved parties and regulatory entities.”
The statement also said details of the scholarship are still being developed, adding that more details will be shared “in the future and after consultation with the family of Tyre.”
ICON Park, where Orlando Slingshot leases land for the ride, said in a statement that it supports the decision. “Tyre’s death is a tragedy that we will never forget. As the landlord, ICON Park welcomes and appreciates Orlando Slingshot’s decision to take down the ride.”
According to CNN, Tyre’s autopsy found his cause of death was blunt force trauma which resulted in multiple fractures, lacerations, a hemorrhaging to his head and other extremities. Sampson said his son’s face was bloated and almost unrecognizable at his funeral.
Tyre’s family filed a lawsuit against the ride’s owner, manufacturer and landlord alleges the ride was operated negligently, per ABC News. Following the incident, officials called the ride an “immediate danger” to the public. The family said they hope the suit will bring about change.
“While this announcement is long overdue, the news today is a relief to Tyre Sampson’s grieving father, who has been advocating for this since the day Tyre fell to his death,” said Ben Crump to AP News.