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Teen killed on Orlando Free Fall ride died of blunt trauma, autopsy says

The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office report ruled that 14-year-old Tyre Sampson’s death was an accident.
The Orlando Free Fall drop tower in ICON Park in Orlando is pictured on March 28. A Missouri teenager died of blunt force trauma after falling from the 430-foot Florida drop-tower amusement park ride, according to an autopsy released Monday.
The Orlando Free Fall drop tower in ICON Park in Orlando is pictured on March 28. A Missouri teenager died of blunt force trauma after falling from the 430-foot Florida drop-tower amusement park ride, according to an autopsy released Monday. [ STEPHEN M. DOWELL | AP ]
Published Jun. 13|Updated Jun. 13

ORLANDO — A Missouri teenager died of blunt force trauma after falling from a 430-foot Florida drop-tower amusement park ride, according to an autopsy released Monday.

The report by the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office also ruled that 14-year-old Tyre Sampson’s death in March was an accident. Sampson slipped out of his seat about halfway down the Free Fall ride located in a tourist area of Orlando.

The autopsy showed that Sampson, who played football in the St. Louis area, weighed 383 pounds when he died. Sampson was in Orlando with a friend’s family for vacation and his size has been examined as a potential factor.

An initial report by outside engineers hired by the Florida Department of Agriculture said sensors on the ride had been adjusted manually to double the size of the opening for restraints on two seats, resulting in Sampson not being properly secured.

The Orlando FreeFall ride is shown at ICON Park in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, March 24, 2022.  A 14-year-old boy fell to his death from a ride at an amusement park in Orlando, sheriff's officials said. Sheriff's officials and emergency crews responded to a call late Thursday at Icon Park, which is located in the city's tourist district along International Drive. The boy fell from the Orlando Free Fall ride, which opened late last year.(Stephen M. Dowell /Orlando Sentinel via AP)
The Orlando FreeFall ride is shown at ICON Park in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, March 24, 2022. A 14-year-old boy fell to his death from a ride at an amusement park in Orlando, sheriff's officials said. Sheriff's officials and emergency crews responded to a call late Thursday at Icon Park, which is located in the city's tourist district along International Drive. The boy fell from the Orlando Free Fall ride, which opened late last year.(Stephen M. Dowell /Orlando Sentinel via AP) [ STEPHEN M. DOWELL | AP ]

Sampson’s parents have sued the ride’s owner, manufacturer and landlord, saying they were negligent and failed to provide a safe amusement ride. The lawsuit said the defendants failed to warn Sampson about the risks of someone of his size going on the ride and that they did not provide an appropriate restraint system.

An attorney for the ride’s owner, Orlando Slingshot, has said the company is cooperating with state investigators into what happened.

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