The parents of a 14-year-old boy who fell to his death from a 430-foot drop-tower ride in central Florida's tourist district sued its owner, manufacturer and landlord on Monday, claiming they were negligent and failed to provide a safe amusement ride.
The parents of Tyre Sampson said in the lawsuit filed in state court in Orlando that the defendants failed to warn their 6-foot-2-inch, 380-pound son about the risks of someone of his size going on the ride and didn't provide an appropriate restraint system on the ride.
TYRE SAMPSON DEATH
While most free-fall rides have a shoulder harness and a seatbelt, the Orlando Free Fall ride had only an over-the-shoulder harness. Adding seatbelts to the ride's 30 seats would have cost $660, the lawsuit said.
At the time of the accident last month, Sampson was on spring break, visiting from the St. Louis area.
“The defendants in Tyre’s case showed negligence in a multitude of ways,” said attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Sampson's family. “From the ride and seat manufacturers and the installer to the owners and operators, the defendants had more than enough chances to enact safeguards, such as seatbelts, that could have prevented Tyre’s death."
Spokespeople for the ride's owner, Orlando Slingshot, and landlord, ICON Park, didn't immediately have comment on the lawsuit.
"He was a very good charismatic young man," his father, Yarnell Sampson, said last month. "I want to know what happened to my son."
Last week, an initial report by outside engineers hired by the Florida Department of Agriculture said that sensors on the ride had been adjusted manually to double the size of the opening for restraints on two seats, resulting in Sampson not being properly secured before he slipped out and fell to his death.
The Orlando Free Fall ride, which is taller than the Statue of Liberty, didn’t experience any electrical or mechanical failures, the report said.
The report said there were many other “potential contributions” to the accident and that a full review of the ride’s design and operations was needed.
"It really started when they designed this ride, made it such a thrill seeker and so dangerous and down the line and down the line didn’t put any safety devices in to account for the problems that could happen," said South Florida attorney Michael Haggard, who is representing the family.
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