According to the accident report, the safety harness and seat of the 14-year-old boy who died during a ride at a Florida amusement park last week were still locked at the end of the ride.
Tire Sampson fell from the Orlando FreeFall Thursday at ICON Park, a ride billed as ‘the world’s tallest free-standing drop tower’, and the report offered no new details about what caused the crash amid requests from his family and park officials to close at the bottom of the route.
On FreeFall, which opened in the center of Orlando’s entertainment district late last year, 30 runners soar to the top, lean forward and plunge nearly 400 feet at speeds reaching over of 75 mph, according to a January release from the park.
The tire fell off when the magnets engaged to slow the ride as passengers descended from the tower, according to the report released Monday by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The agency and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the death.
“SHOCKED AND HEART BROKEN”:14-year-old dies after falling from huge fall tower in Florida
The safety harness on his seat was “still in the down and locked position when the ride stopped,” according to the report, which lists three employees as witnesses.
“Words cannot express the grief felt at the tragic loss of such a young man, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this incredibly difficult time,” said the Commissioner for Agriculture and of Florida Consumer Services, Nikki Fried, in a statement.
Safety experts and other riders have wondered why the ride doesn’t have a secondary seat belt in addition to the shoulder harness.
Such a belt is usually part of ride safety at similar attractions and could have saved lives, said U.S. Ken Martin, a Virginia-based amusement park safety analyst who works with parks, fairs, government entities, insurance companies and lawyers. TODAY.
A person riding the drop tower can be heard questioning their restraints before taking off in a clip posted by WESH 2 News.
FOLLOW-UP TO THE ORLANDO FREEFALL ACCIDENT:Dollywood temporarily closes drop tower made by same manufacturer during Orlando incident
The ride is closed indefinitely according to the company that owns and operates it and the FDACS, but there have been calls to permanently close the FOX35 Orlando ride.
ICON Park issued a statement Thursday calling on the SlingShot Group to close Orlando FreeFall and another ride, the Orlando SlingShot, “until authorities prove the attractions are safe.”
Tyre’s cousin, Shay Johnson, collected pages of signatures on a petition calling for the ride to be permanently closed, FOX35 Orlando reported.
“I would like this ride taken down,” Johnson said. “My cousin lost his life on this drive. I don’t think it’s safe and I think it should be closed before someone else’s family has to go through what we’re going through.”
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