New details have emerged about the tragedy with the 14-year-old boy who plummeted to his death from an Orlando amusement park ride this week.
As we previously reported, the teenager – who has since been identified as Tyre Sampson – passed away after falling out of his seat on the 430-foot Orlando Free Fall attraction at ICON Park on Thursday evening. Following the horrific incident, John Stine, a spokesperson for Slingshot Group, which owns and operates the ride in question, said in a statement that the boy appeared to have been on a safety harness on the ride at the time. However, that may not have been the case…
Tyre’s father Yarnell Sampson says the teen knew something was wrong and started panicking as soon as the ride began to ascend. He told Fox 35 on Friday:
“When the ride took off, that’s when he was feeling uncomfortable. He was like, ‘What’s going on?’ That’s when he started freaking out.”
According to Yarnell, Tyre then chilling told one of his friends:
“He was explaining to his friend next to him, ‘I don’t know man. If I don’t make it down, please tell my Mom and Daddy I love them.’ For him to say something like that, he must have felt something.”
This description of Tyre’s fears backs what someone also detailed in a 911 call after the tragedy. According to an audio recording obtained by The New York Post, the person told the operator that they believed the ride staff had not secured Tyre’s safety harness properly, saying:
“Um, I’m not sure. They’re saying he’s breathing, but he’s not responsive. Looks like his arms are broken and his legs. I don’t know from where he fell. They [ICON park staff] didn’t secure the seatbelt on him.”
Yarnell also told Fox 35 that the attraction was the only one who allowed his 6-foot-5-inch, 340-pound son on – which he found suspicious:
“This one particular ride said, ‘We can take you, come on! Get on!’ No one else allowed him to get on the ride, so I’m wondering what happened between now and then that made them say, ‘Come on, get this ride!’”
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating his death at this time. Yarnell has since retained civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump, who has represented the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. And now the devastated dad just wants answers as to what happened and why they never stopped the ride, expressing:
“This should never happen to anyone else’s child ever again, and if I have anything to do with this, it will not happen ever again.”
So terrible what happened here.
Our thoughts continue to be with Tyre’s loved ones during this difficult time.
[Image via Fox 35 Orlando/YouTube]