Orlando FreeFall tragedy: Ride safety expert says ‘something has to change’ with amusement park surveillance


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An amusement park ride safety expert is calling for federal oversight of amusement park rides following the Orlando FreeFall incident where a 14-year-old fell from the ride and died.

Tire Sampson, 14, died after falling from the Orlando FreeFall on March 24 in Orlando, Fla. at ICON Park.

While Florida regulates amusement park rides, some states still do not have regulations in place for amusement park rides, and there are currently no federal regulations surrounding rides.

Brian Avery, a University of Florida speaker and driving safety expert, told Fox News Digital that something needs to change.

“It was recorded with a video, and, you know, it really resonated with the audience saying, OK, stop it, something has to change. We have standards and practices and so on that could have solved this problem of significantly to prevent it. Why the inconsistencies? And I think that’s why we’re at this point where we’re wondering why we don’t have federal oversight,” Avery said.

FLORIDA FREEFALL TRAGEDY: STATE AGENCY HIRES LEGISLATIVE ENGINEER TO INVESTIGATE DEATH OF TEEN AMUSEMENT PARK

The Orlando Freefall Tower at ICON Park in Orlando, Florida is pictured March 28, 2022. Tire Sampson, 14, was killed when he fell from the ride last week.
(Orlando Sentinel via Getty)

Avery pointed out that mobile amusement parks are regulated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, but stationary rides are not.

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., sponsored legislation in 2007 that would have given the commission federal safety oversight over stationary amusement park rides, but it did not pass.

Avery said that while some organizations do a good job of self-regulation and have a vested interest in keeping people safe, there is resistance to federal oversight.

FLORIDA FREEFALL TRAGEDY: THE AMUSEMENT PARK AT THE CENTER OF DEADLY TEEN FALL WAS BUILT IN DECEMBER

Samson tire

Samson tire
(FOX 35 Orlando)

“There’s a belief that, you know, some do it better than others. Therefore, why should I comply with some kind of federal oversight when I’m doing my job pretty well on my own,” he said. said Avery.

Avery said that ASTM International publishes industry safety standards for amusement park rides, and added that some amusement parks have partially adopted their standards, some have fallen below, stating that “we need a baseline”.

“I would subscribe to most major parks that go beyond ASTM anyway, but there are others that don’t and they fall below those standards. And I think there would be prudent to have at least a minimum consensus when it comes to standards at the federal level so that everyone knows, no matter what state you are in. These are the basics you need to follow,” a said Avery.

FLORIDA FREEFALL TEEN DEATH: RIDE SAFETY EXPERT HARNESS ‘WAS NOT TURNED ON PROPERLY’

Tourists enjoy the rides and amenities at ICON Park in Orlando on Thursday, March 24, 2022.

Tourists enjoy the rides and amenities at ICON Park in Orlando on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
(Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

He said that currently the state’s regulation of amusement park rides is “hazardous” and said some agencies tasked with regulating amusement park rides may not be qualified to do so.

Some pushbacks could come down to sharing data about ride safety incidents, Avery said, adding that some theme parks may not be willing to share such information because it could “deter some customers” from going on those rides. rides, but said that should’ not be a reason to avoid federal regulations.

FLORIDA FREEFALL TEEN DEATH: RIDE SAFETY EXPERT HARNESS ‘WAS NOT TURNED ON PROPERLY’

  The wheel at ICON Park is on the left, Orlando SlingShot in the middle, and Orlando FreeFall is on the right.  A 14-year-old boy died after falling from the Orlando FreeFall ride on March 24.

The wheel at ICON Park is on the left, Orlando SlingShot in the middle, and Orlando FreeFall is on the right. A 14-year-old boy died after falling from the Orlando FreeFall ride on March 24.
(Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

“I don’t think the long term gains outweigh the short term heartburn that some would feel in regards to this process because I think ultimately you would be more consistent we would have a set of standards that we can all live by,” Avery said.


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