ORLANDO, Fla. — ICON Park officials say they are demanding that the SlingShot Group, the operator of the Orlando FreeFall ride, immediately suspend operations of its rides at the complex after a fatal accident last week.

What You Need To Know

  • A 14-year-old boy died on March 24 after coming out of his safety seat while riding the Orlando Free Fall at ICON Park

  • Park officials have requested the Free Fall's operator to shut down an adjacent ride, the Orlando Slingshot

  • Officials with the entertainment complex said Monday that they sent a formal request to the SlingShot Group to close the rides

  • Orlando Free Fall has been closed since last week's accident

​The 450-foot tall FreeFall was closed Thursday after 14-year-old Tyre Sampson, of Missouri, died after falling from the ride.

In a statement released Monday, ICON Park officials said they sent a formal request to the SlingShot Group to also close the adjacent Orlando SlingShot until both rides are proven “safe for the public.”

“In the interests of public safety, ICON Park demands that the SlingShot Group suspend not only the operation of Orlando Free Fall but also the operation of Orlando Slingshot, effective immediately, continuing until such time as a thorough investigation by the appropriate authorities has been completed and all parties are satisfied that the rides are safe for the public,” park officials said in a statement Monday.

The request comes as authorities continue to investigate what happened with the FreeFall late last week when Sampson fell. 

On Monday, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services released several documents as part of its investigation. They included a preliminary accident report, ride operator records and the ride's operations manual. 

According to the report, "when the magnets engaged, the patron came out of the seat." The harness on Sampson's seat was still down and in a "locked position" when the ride stopped, the report said. 

The manual, produced by ride manufacturer Funtime Handels GmbH, also revealed the maximum rider weight limit for the Free Fall is 130 kg, or about 287 pounds. Tyre weighed more than 300 pounds, according to his father.  The manual also lists steps staff should follow when loading riders. 

In its statement Monday, ICON Park added that it is cooperating with the investigation into the incident.

"This was the saddest day in the history of ICON Park and we’re working hard to make sure this never happens again,” the statement said.

The Orlando FreeFall and the SlingShot attractions opened at the complex in December. Touted as the tallest free-standing drop tower in the world, the FreeFall takes riders more than 400 feet in the air and tilts them 30 degrees, before dropping at speeds of up to 75 mph. The SlingShot, which stands at 300 feet, launches riders 450 feet in the air in a matter of seconds.

The SlingShot Group also operates a SlingShot attraction at Sunset Walk in Kissimmee. It's unclear if that attraction, which opened last month, will be shut down in response to recent events. 

Dollywood, located in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., has temporarily closed a similar drop tower ride at its park. The Drop Line, also manufactured by Funtime, was closed "out of an abundance of caution." 


Facebook Twitter