ORLANDO, Fla. — The SlingsShot ride at ICON Park reopened Thursday after being closed for more than a year. The ride suspended operations after 14-year-old Tyre Sampson died in an accident at the Orlando FreeFall, which was operated by the same group as the SlingShot. 

What You Need To Know

  • Operators dismantled the 450-foot FreeFall ride earlier this year

  • In a statement, the Slingshot CEO said they have worked with third-parties for a safe reopening of the SlingShot

  • Gov. DeSantis just signed two bills into law to provide more oversight into ride safety and investigations

In March 2022, Sampson fell from his seat on the Orlando FreeFall drop-tower ride and died from his injuries.

Following the accident, ICON Park sent a request to the operators, SlingShot Group, to close both the FreeFall and SlingShot rides.

In the year since Sampson’s death, the FreeFall ride was permanently closed and dismantled. Florida lawmakers also worked to pass legislation providing more oversight to amusement park ride safety.

In a statement to Spectrum News, SlingShot CEO Ritchie Armstrong wrote:

“Today, we reopened the Slingshot ride on the south side of International Drive. We did this in close consultation with the Florida Department of Agriculture and all appropriate regulatory authorities. We also worked with a third party national safety company to guide our reopening procedures and help train the workers who will be operating the ride. It is important to know that this ride is a totally different ride from the FreeFall, which has been disassembled and removed from this property entirely. The safety of our patrons continues to be our highest priority, and that is why we were supportive of the Tyre Sampson Act being passed by the Florida Legislature this year.”

This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the two bills passed during the legislative session.

Senate Bill 902 requires new permanent rides to have a commissioning and certification report on file starting July 1. The law provides new safety regulations and also revises the circumstances in which ride owners must report accidents.

Senate Bill 904 exempts records regarding active amusement ride investigations from being open records. Proponents of the measure believe that releasing documents can hinder an active investigation.

In the early days of the investigation into Sampson’s death, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services released documents related to the investigation, including a preliminary accident report and the operation manual for the FreeFall. 

SB 904 also goes into effect on July 1.