Father of 14-year-old who fatally fell from Orlando FreeFall hopes new bill will help prevent tragedy

Tyre Sampson Act filed last week

ORLANDO, Fla. – The father of a 14-year-old boy who fell to his death from the Orlando FreeFall attraction last year is hoping a new law in the works will help ensure something like this never happens again.

State Sen. Geraldine Thompson named the piece of legislation the Tyre Sampson Act after the teen, who slipped from his seat on the 400-foot-tall ICON Park thrill ride and fell to his death on March 24, 2022, while visiting Orlando from Missouri during spring break.

Yarnell Sampson, the boy’s father, spoke with News 6 over the weekend following the filing of the bill.

“There are too many shortcuts but not enough explanations, so hopefully this thing will get some more results,” he said.

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The bill would set up training standards for ride attendants and allow the state to conduct unannounced inspections. It would also mandate inspections anytime a ride undergoes a major modification.

“At the end of the day, it’s about protecting the people and if you’re in a tourist state, you definitely don’t want that sore eye or image on your background,” Yarnell Sampson said.

The company that operates the ride agreed to pay a $250,000 fine to the state after an investigation revealed the safety sensors on two seats had been modified to accommodate larger riders — against the recommendations set by the manufacturer.

Part of that settlement also includes a pledge the ride will be torn down.

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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.