Boy Dies After Falling From Free Fall Tower At ICON Park In Florida

(WABNEWS) — A 14-year-old boy has died after falling Thursday night from the drop tower that recently opened in the entertainment complex ICON Park in the Orlando, Florida area, officials said.

Tire Sampson, from Missouri, fell off the attraction orlandofreefall, described by its operators as the tallest freestanding drop tower in the world, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.

The authorities received the call to ICON Park around 11 pm. Sampson was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries, the sheriff’s office said. Details about what led to the crash were not immediately released.


Investigators will determine if the incident was accidental or intentional, but based on an initial investigation, “it appears to be a terrible tragedy,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said.

The child was secured in the ride’s seat, an official with the company that operates the ride told Spectrum. News 13, WABNEWS affiliate.

“Yes (he was secured in the seat). That is what we know at this time. So again, we operate the ride with all safety precautions in mind and everything is in place and that’s why we’re doing an investigation,” John Stine, director of sales and marketing for Slingshot Group, told Spectrum News. 13.

This is the attraction from where the child fell

Slingshot Group operates the FreeFall, a 130-meter-tall tower and ride. It will be closed “until further notice,” Slingshot Group spokeswoman Brooke Jones said Friday morning. The company also operates two other attractions at the park.

The FreeFall has a vehicle that circles the tower and carries up to 30 people to the top of the structure.

“Once the ride vehicle reaches the top, it leans forward 30 degrees and faces the ground before plummeting nearly 400 feet at speeds in excess of 75 mph,” says the ICON Park website.

Stine declined Friday morning to answer reporters’ questions about what led up to the crash.

“Our hearts are broken for the young man’s family. We will do everything we can to work with the investigating authorities to get to this matter,” Stine said.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will have inspectors on site Friday “with our ongoing investigation,” department spokeswoman Caroline Stonecipher told WABNEWS. The department is responsible to inspect all attractions in Florida, except those in large parks that have more than 1,000 employees and have full-time inspectors on staff.

The sheriff’s office has received no prior complaints about the trip, Mina said. But she emphasized that the state Department of Agriculture would be responsible for examining such complaints.

WABNEWS has sought comment from park officials, as well as more comments and inspection records of the FreeFall attraction from the Department of Agriculture.

ICON Park includes a variety of offers, including attractions such as a 120-meter-high flywheel; Madame Tussauds Orlando; and SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium.

— WABNEWS’s Leyla Santiago and Sara Weisfeldt contributed to this report.



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