The 14-year-old boy who fell to his death from a Florida amusement park ride in March was nearly 100 pounds over the ride’s weight limit, according to an autopsy report obtained by CNN.
Tyree Sampson was visiting the sunshine state with members of his football team when he died on March 24 after falling from the FreeFall drop tower ride at ICON Park in Orlando. News Onyx reported that the FreeFall ride is considered the tallest free-standing drop-tower ride in the world at 430 feet, tilting passengers forward at 30 degrees before dropping several feet at 75 mph.
The ride’s owner lists the weight limit at 287 pounds. However, Sampson was 6’2 and weighed more than 340 pounds.
The Orange County Medical examiner ruled Sampson’s cause of death was blunt force trauma “resulting in multiple fractures, lacerations and hemorrhaging to his head, neck, and extremities,” the autopsy report said.
In April, Quest Engineering & Failure Analysis launched an investigation into the ride operators and found that they adjusted the safety measures of the attraction, News Onyx reported. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said the modified changes caused some harnesses on the ride to open to “almost double” the normal range.
“These misadjustments allowed the safety lights to illuminate and properly satisfy the ride’s electronic safety mechanisms that allowed the ride to operate, even though Mr. Sampson was not properly secured in the seat,” Fried said.
The report also stated that two of the seats, one of which was occupied by Sampson, were modified to open between three and four inches wider than the ride’s other restraints. Shortly before his death, Sampson’s restraints created a seven-inch gap between the harness and the raised part of the seat between his legs.
“The cause of the subject accident was that Tyre Sampson was not properly secured in the seat primarily due to the misadjustment of the harness proximity sensor,” the report read.
At the time, Slingshot Group’s attorney Trevor Arnold issued a statement insisting that his clients followed all “protocols, procedures and safety measures.”
Tyree’s parents, Nekia Dodd and Yarnell Sampson filed a wrongful death lawsuit against multiple defendants, including ICON Park, the ride’s owner, manufacturer, and Orlando Slingshot, to name a few.
Slingshot released a statement following the autopsy results, per Fox 6 Orlando.
“The loss of Tyre Sampson was a tragic accident. We continue to communicate and cooperate with representatives of Tyre’s family, as well as the Department of Agriculture. We are devoted to working with our lawmakers in making lasting safety changes in the amusement park industry.”