ORLANDO, Fla. – A crane has begun dismantling the Orlando FreeFall ride at ICON Park, one year after a teenager visiting from out of town was killed when he fell from the ride.
News 6 was there as the crane began removing parts of the ride’s 400-foot-tall structure on Wednesday.
And just like that, the top piece of the FreeFall ride has been removed. A crane just lowered it down to the ground. pic.twitter.com/2YPuocXhLF— Catherine Silver (@CatSilverTV) March 15, 2023
The owners of the ride agreed to dismantle it in October, months after 14-year-old Tyre Sampson fell from the attraction on March 24, 2022.
“There is nothing more important to ICON Park than the safety of our guests and employees, and we’ve been supportive in assisting Senator Thompson with her proposed legislation,” ICON Park said in a statement on Wednesday. “We agree with the goal to ensure extra diligence and oversight with mid- to small-attraction operators for ride training, testing and process documentation, which we also focus on in our own rigorous ride safety protocols. While the FreeFall ride is not owned and was not controlled or operated by ICON Park, because it is a tenant on the property, we agree with the owner’s decision to dismantle the ride and our hearts are with the family as they witness this important milestone.”
Last week, ICON Park also issued a statement that confirmed the process of dismantling the ride had begun:
We have been supportive of the Slingshot Group’s decision to dismantle the FreeFall tower, and are pleased that the process has begun.
The activity will be contained on the southwest corner of the property, and ICON Park’s attractions, restaurants and dining venues will remain open and operating as normal for guests.ICON Park
An investigation into the tragedy shows Sampson’s seat wasn’t properly secure because of the teen’s size, and manual changes were made to the seat’s sensor that made the ride unsafe.
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The owners of the ride took a settlement with the state and agreed to pay a $250,000 fine.
Sampson’s family is also suing Funtime Thrill Rides, the manufacturer; Slingshot Group, the owner-operator of the ride, and ICON Park, which leased the space.
Lawmakers in Tallahassee are considering a bill to change the way attractions are regulated in Florida as a result of Sampson’s death.
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