‘He’s not breathing:’ Calls to 911 released after teen’s deadly fall from Orlando drop tower

Tyre Sampson, 14, died from the fall Thursday night at ICON Park

ORLANDO, Fla. – The 911 calls made after a 14-year-old boy plummeted to his death from an Orlando thrill ride were released on Friday afternoon.

“The thing (Orlando Free Fall) went down to drop and, like, when they got closer to the bottom, when it hit the break, the guy fell right out of the seat,” said one caller to 911.

The fall killed Tyre Sampson, who was visiting the area from his home in Missouri, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The boy was riding the Orlando Free Fall attraction, billed as the world’s tallest free-standing drop tower, around 11:10 p.m. Thursday at ICON Park along International Drive.

“He’s not responsive,” another caller said after the fall. “It looks like his arms are broken and his legs.”

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Video showing the fatal fall, which News 6 and ClickOrlando.com will not show due to its graphic nature, was shared on social media.

One of the callers told emergency dispatchers that the teen was not breathing and that he was already dead before help arrived.

“Tell me exactly why you think he’s, he’s completely gone,” the 911 operator said.

“He’s face down, there’s blood everywhere. He’s not breathing. I’ve checked his pulse, there’s no pulse,” the man replied.

The 911 dispatcher asks the man whether he has access to a defibrillator, but the man said none were available.

“OK, listen carefully. We’re going to try to do CPR on him,” the dispatcher said.

“He’s about 300 pounds. He’s hard to lift,” the man replied.

Sirens can be heard shortly thereafter as first responders arrived on the scene.

Listen to the full 911 call in the media player below:

It’s not known how the boy fell from the drop tower, which is taller than the Statue of Liberty.

The Orlando Free Fall, which opened in December, takes up to 30 guests high into the air before dropping 400 feet at 70 mph.

The company that operates the thrill ride said it is working with authorities to determine what happened.

“Our hearts go out to the family of this young man,” said John Stine, director of sales and marketing for The Slingshot Group, adding that there had been no issues previously reported with the ride.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings released a statement about the tragedy.

“I offer my deepest condolences for the family of the 14-year-old boy who died following the tragic incident at Icon Park,” Demings said. “I look to receiving more information about what happened in the incident and what will be done to prevent it from ever happening again. The Florida Department of Agriculture and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office investigations will bring clarity to the circumstances and next steps.”

Inspectors from the Florida Department of Agriculture, which oversees amusement park rides, were at ICON Park Friday investigating what may have caused the fall.

Orlando Free Fall and the adjacent Orlando Sling Shot, also operated by The Slingshot Group will remain closed indefinitely, Stine said.


About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.