Orlando FreeFall owners settle with state after death of 14-year-old

Owners agree to never operate ride again, pay $250K fine

ORLANDO, Fla. – The owners of an Orlando amusement ride from which a 14-year-old fell to his death have taken a settlement, according to documents released by the state.

Deputies announced the death of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson in March 2022, saying that the teen had fatally fallen from the Orlando FreeFall drop tower at ICON Park.

In the aftermath of Sampson’s death, inspectors revealed that the teen had been too big to ride the attraction, and so the restraint bar wasn’t fully secured when Sampson boarded the ride.

Following multiple vigils and protests, the ride’s operator — The Slingshot Group — stated in October that the Orlando FreeFall would ultimately be taken down.

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A settlement agreement with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services was released on Friday that shows the owners — Orlando Eagle Drop Slingshot, LLC — agreed to never again operate the drop tower.

The agreement also says that the owners will pay a $250,000 fine, which was set to be paid by Feb. 14.

“Orlando Eagle Drop recently confirmed a settlement and resolution with FDACS. We are pleased to have resolved this matter with FDACS without the necessity of a formal hearing,” Trevor Arnold, the attorney for Orlando Slingshot, told News 6. “As we publicly stated since October, we have been preparing for taking down the FreeFall ride once FDACS concluded its investigation. The final agreement we reached with FDACS allows us to proceed coordinating a timeline with all involved parties to take down the ride, which we expect will take several weeks.”

The full text of the agreement has been attached to this story and can be read below.

About the Author:

Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.