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Was the teen’s size a factor in his ICON Park ride death?

UPDATE:  A Missouri teen killed last week in a fall from a Florida amusement park ride apparently should never been allowed on the ride.

According to the operator’s manual, “no one should be allowed on the ride if they weigh over 286 pounds.”

Tyre Sampson’s dad says the 14 year old boy weighed 340 pounds. Orlando’s ICON Park ride remains closed pending an investigation.

Famed Florida attorney Benjamin Crump is representing the family of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson of Missouri who died after falling off the Free Fall Ride at Orlando’s ICON Park Thursday night.

The ride is closed pending an investigation, but his family is circulating a petition to get the ride closed for good.

The teen’s size may have been a factor. With big football prospects, Sampson was 6’5″ 330 pounds and was known as “Big Tick” to his friends.  The 8th grader had reportedly been turned away from other rides due to his size.


Lawyers for his family want to know if negligence about his size, or other factors, played a role.  Video taken before the accident showed passengers on the ride as they discussed issues with an over-the-shoulder restraint harness.

“This young man, he was athletic and he was big. He had no way of knowing,” said Texas attorney, Bob Hilliard,  who represents Tyre’s mother. “This is going to be an issue of a lack of supervision and lack of training. A straight-up negligence case.”

Sampson slid out of his seat from the 430-foot tall ride, which is taller than the Statue of Liberty and plummets toward the ground at  75 mph or more.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which regulates amusement rides in Florida at all but the major theme parks, declined comment Saturday other than to say the investigation is ongoing.

No criminal charges have been filed but Crump will likely file a negligence or wrongful death lawsuit because he says the boy’s parents deserve answers.

“A fun theme park visit with his football team should not have ended in tragedy,” Crump said.