Dollywood closes skydiving after teenager dies at Florida attraction

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (AP) – Dollywood amusement park in Tennessee said Sunday it had temporarily shut down a ride developed by the same maker of a free-fall ride from which a teenager fell to his death at a Florida attraction. .

Dollywood told The Associated Press it was saddened to learn of the death of 14-year-old Tire Sampson, who authorities say fell from a huge amusement ride called the Orlando FreeFall at Icon Park in Orlando on Thursday.

Until more details are known about the death in Florida, Dollywood has temporarily closed its Drop Line ride “out of an abundance of caution,” the Pigeon Forge amusement park said in an emailed statement.

In a press release posted on its website, Dollywood said Drop Line is a 230ft tall ride made by Funtime Rides in Austria.

“Although Dollywood does not have the specific ride involved in this tragic incident, the safety of our guests is our top priority,” Dollywood said.

Investigators were investigating what happened when Sampson fell from the 430ft Orlando FreeFall ride, which is higher than the Statue of Liberty. The ride is located along a busy street in the heart of Orlando’s tourist district, not far from Disney World.

The Icon Park attraction said in a statement that it is cooperating fully with investigators and that the Orlando FreeFall ride will be closed indefinitely. It opened late last year on International Drive, a tourist hotspot.


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