The harness of a drop-tower ride at a Florida amusement park was adjusted prior to the onboarding of a 14-year old boy who died after slipping out of his seat during the ride, reported ABC News. Reports say Tyre Sampson exceeded the weight limit of the ride weighing 300 pounds. Bystanders caught the incident on video.
In March, Sampson died after falling from the FreeFall drop tower ride at Orlando’s ICON Park, labeled as the world’s tallest free-standing drop tower, reported CNN. The ride drops from over 400 feet at 75 mph. Family civil rights attorney Ben Crump had announced the investigation into the incident and said the situation was “completely preventable,” via CNN.
A report from Quest Engineering & Failure Analysis, Inc. found the seat Sampson was sitting in was manually manipulated, widening the harness restraint to account for his size. Nicole Fried, Florida commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, said the adjustment was “almost double that of a normal restraint opening range.”
More on the report from ABC News:
Fried said the adjustment by the individual operator, who was not identified in the report, enabled the FreeFall’s sensor lights to illuminate, “improperly satisfying” the ride’s electronic safety mechanisms and enabling the ride to operate “even though Mr. Sampson was not properly secured in his seat.”
The report showed the average restraint opening for other seats on the ride was 3.33 inches, which is considered “normal.” Sampson’s seat was adjusted before the ride started to an opening of 7.19 inches, the report found.
“During slowing of the ride, Tyre Sampson slipped through the gap between the seat and harness” and fell to his death, according to the report.
The investigation concluded the ride did not experience a mechanical or electrical failure.
Bystanders’ videos of the incident circulated social media gathering national attention. Rapper YK Osiris offered to donate $15,000 toward funeral costs; however, Sampson’s family disputed the announcement claiming they did not receive the donation, per COMPLEX.
Crump previously said the footage was worse than George Floyd’s. Florida Rep. Geraldine Thompson said she was “very disturbed” by the report.
“As you might imagine, the family is in shock. You send your 14-year-old son away for spring break and he does not return alive. So, they’re in shock,” said Thompson.