Featured Stories | News

Teen falls to death from Florida amusement park ride

A 14-year-old boy fell to his death from a free-fall amusement park ride at the Icon Park in Orlando.

The ride is reportedly taller than the Statue of Liberty, it stands at 430-feet (131-meters) tall, and is billed as the world’s tallest free-standing drop tower, according to the park’s website. The ride holds 30 passengers as it rises in the air, rotates around the tower and then tilts to face the ground before free falling at more than 75 mph (120 kph), the website said.

Sheriff’s officials and emergency crews responded to a call late Thursday at the Orlando Free Fall ride, which opened late last year at Icon Park on the city’s International Drive.

The teen was identified Friday as Tyre Sampson, who was visiting central Florida from Missouri with a friend’s family. Detectives investigating the death will look into whether it was intentional or accidental, said Orange County Sheriff John Mina.

“It appears to be just a terrible tragedy,” Mina said. “We will see moving forward what that results in.”

Sampson was taken to a hospital, where he died, sheriff’s officials said. No additional details about the teen or the incident were immediately released.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which oversees amusement ride inspections with the exception of the state’s largest theme parks, has launched an investigation and inspectors were at the site Friday, spokesperson Caroline Stoneciper said in an email.

According to a report from the state agency, the ride had its initial permit inspection on Dec. 20, 2021, and no problems were found. The next semi-annual inspection for the ride wasn’t due for several more months.