The investigation into a Missouri teen’s death on an Orlando ride found that the teen was “not properly secured” in the seat.
14-year-old Tyre Sampson died on March 24th when he fell from the Drop Tower FreeFall ride at ICON Park.
Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services hired a forensic engineer to assist with the investigation into the teen’s death.
The investigation found that the ride’s operator made “manual adjustments” to the attraction, which rendered it “unsafe.”
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced on Monday that, officials with Quest Engineering and Failure Analysis found that adjustments were made to the sensor on the seat where Sampson was sitting.
The adjustments to the sensor allowed the harness restraint to be almost double that of the normal restraint opening range.
“These misadjustments allowed the safety lights to illuminate, improperly satisfying the ride’s electronic safety mechanisms that allowed the ride to operate, even though Mr. Sampson was not properly secured in his seat,” Fried said.
State Rep. Geraldine Thompson told reporters that the ride has a maximum weight limit of 200 pounds, however, the teen weighed “in excess of 300 pounds.”
Thompson also noted that the operator may have adjusted the sensor to allow for Thompson to ride the ride:
“This was outside of the manufacturer’s guidelines,” Thompson said. “So whether it’s due to training, lack of training, lack of signage as the rider approached the ride to be informed that if you’re over this weight, you should not get on this ride. And so we want to answer all of those questions.”
The ride will remain closed until a full investigation is complete.