ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s been a rough last couple of days for 20-year-old Montrey Williams.
“Just seeing that replaying over and over in my head, like, it’s really rough,” the Orlando native said.
Williams recalled Thursday night when Tyre Sampson, 14, lost his life after somehow falling out of his seat from the ICON Park Free Fall ride.
“My first reaction, like, it felt like a dream. I didn’t think it was real until I actually walked up to him,” he said.
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Williams told News 6 that he was with his girlfriend standing in front of the ride as they watched guests get on.
“As far as the workers, they did not do their job correctly whatsoever. Nobody walked around to see if everybody was securely, you know, locked in,” Williams assured.
Moments later, as the ride came back down, the next image Williams said he saw was of the teen lying face down on the ground.
“He called me, he said, ‘Mom, mom, mom!’ frantic, so my heart was racing, and I said, ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong?’ He said, ‘Somebody just fell from the ride,’” said Mandisa Duppins, Williams’ mother. “He was FaceTimeing me, he said, ‘Mom, look, somebody just fell. So I instantly, being raised in a house of 20 years of nursing experience, you jump into, ‘Is he breathing? Is he moving? Did somebody check him?’”
Duppins said her son took pictures moments after the fall, but decided not to post the images on social media.
“When it comes to something like that, you wanna protect the family in any way you can, so I salute him for that because he saw a lot,” she said. “He took his pictures, because if someone came to him and say, ‘What happened?’ he would have something that could possibly help Tyre and help his family understand that what could’ve happened.”
The company that operates the ride said workers are responsible for checking lights on the restraint system to ensure they are properly secured.
“The ride will not ascend unless the harnesses are locked in. There were no indications there was anything different,” said John Stine, a representative for Slingshot Group.
According to the company, if the restraint does not lock properly, then the ride will not operate.