Family suing suing ride owner, manufacturer, others

JACLYN: FAMILY MEMBERS OF THE 14-YEAR-OLD WHO DIED AFTER FALLING FROM THE ORLANDO FREE FALL RIDE, HAVE FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE OWNER OF THE RIDE AND OTHERS. THIS WEEKEND MARKED ONE MONTH SINCE TRYE SAMPSON FELL FROM THE RIDE AT ICON PARK AND EDDI. SIE NCTHAT NIGHT, INVESTIGATORS HAVE REVEALED SAMPSON’S SEAT WAS MANUALLY ADJUSTED SO LARGER PEOPLE COULD RIDIN IT.E WESH 2’S GREG FOX IS LIVE AT ICON PARK THIS AFTERNOON TO BREAK DOWN THE LAWSUIT. GREG THERE ARE SWEEPING , ALLEGATIONS IN THIS LAWSUIT. GR:EG THERE ARE. AMONG THE DEFENDANTS, SLINGSHOT GROUP, WCHHI OWNS AND OPERATES THE FREE FALL, ICON PARK WHICH IS THE LANDLORD HERE, ANTHED MANUFACTURER OF THE DROP RIDASE WE.LL THIS LAWSUIT COMES ONE WKEE AFTER AGRICULTULRA COMMISSIONER RELEASED A PRELIMINARY REPORT, SHOWING THE SAFETY HARNESS ON THE ATSE WHERE TYRWAE S SITTING, HAD BEEN MANUALLY ADJUSTEDO T ACCOMMODATE HIS SIZE. SIX FEET, TWO INCHES TALL AND 380 POUNDS. THE ENGINEERING FIRM FOR THE STATE SAYS THAT LEFT A SEVEN INCH GAP BETWEEN THE HARNESS AND THE SEAT BOTTOM, ALLOWING TYRE TO SLIP OUT. THE LAWSUIT ALLEGES A NUMBER OF FAILURES THAT COULD HAVE PROTECTED TYRE, CONCEALING THE DEFECTIVE DESIGN OF THE EEFR FALL RIDE, FAILURE TO TRAIN EMPLOYEES, FAILURE TO PROPLYER TEST THE RIDE AND FAILURE TO INSTALL SEAT BELTS OR A SECONDARY SAFETY SYSTEM. RIDE EXPERTS HAVE TOLD WESH 2 NEWS THAT A SAFETY BELT OFHE T SAME GENERAL DESIGN AS AN AUTOMOBILE SEAT BELT, COULD DAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN ATTACHED TO THE HARNESS AND CONNECTED TO THE SEAT BETWEEN A RIDER’S LE.GS THE LAWSUIT STATES THAT SUCH A BELT WOULD’V’ COST $22 PER SEAT OR $660 FOR THE ENTIRE RIDE. , >> I THINK THE NEGLIGENCE COMES FROM THE DAY THAT THEY DESIGNED THIS RIDE AT THE MANUFACTURER, TO ICON LETTING THIS COME TO ORLANDO AND TIRHE PARK AND THEIR JOINT VENTURE AND THEN EVERYTHING THAT SLINGSHOT DID FROM MANIPULATING THE SEATS THE NIGHT OF THIS TRAGEDY. >> WESH TWO NEWS REACHED OUT TO SLINGSHOT GROUP, ICON PARK, AND PREVIOUSLY TO THE MANUFACTUR.ER WE’LL LET YOU KNOW WHEN WE HEAR BACK. I DID SPEAK WITH A REPRESENTATIVE OF DEFENDTAN KEATOR CONSTRUCTION OF OCOEE, ALSO NAMED IN THE SUIT. SHE SAID THEY ONLY BUILTHE T CEMENT AND STEEL BASE OR THE — FOR THE RIDE AND OTHERWISE , HAD NO COMMENT. THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SAYS IT IS CONTINUING ITS INVESTIGATION TO DETERMINE WHY THE SEAT HARNESS ON THE RIDE WAS MANUALLY ADJUSTED, ANDNY A PUNISHMENT THAT MAY RESULT FROM THIS FATAL ACCIDENT. THE PARES OFNT TYRE SAMPSON ARE SCHEDULED TO MEET WITH THEIR ATTORNEYS FOR A NEWS CONFERENCE TORRMOOW MORNING IN ST. LOUIS. WE UNDERSTAND THAT HIS MOTHER IS SEEKING LEGISLATION ON A NATIONAL LEVEL THAT WOULD IMPROVE SAFETON

Parents of teen killed in fall from ICON Park ride suing ride owner, manufacturer, others

The parents of a 14-year-old boy who fell to his death from the Free Fall ride at Icon Park on March 24 are suing the ride owner, ride manufacturer, construction contractor and ICON Park, which is the landlord of the property where the ride was operated. The lawsuit filed in the 9th Circuit court in Orange County seeks in excess of $30,000 in damages under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, seeking damages on behalf of Tyre Sampson’s family, for pain and suffering, and loss of future earnings. The complaint lists ICON Park, Orlando Eagle Drop Slingshot/Extreme Amusement Rides, LLC doing business as the Slingshot Group of Companies, which is the operator of the Free Fall ride and whose principal owner is Ritchie Armstrong, Funtime Handels GMBH and Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GMBH, which is an Austrian company that designed and manufactured the ride. Keator Construction, LLC, which built the ride at its location on International Drive and is owned by Clark L. Keator of Ocoee, High Rides, LLC, which is also owned by Ritchie Armstrong, ID Center and I-Drive 360 Management Services, both owned by Chuck Whittall, developer of Icon Park, and IDL Parent, LLC. The seven-count complaint, brought by Nekia Dodd and Yarnell Sampson, the parents of Tyre Sampson, alleges “negligence” and “strict liability” against all defendants. Sampson was visiting ICON Park from St. Louis, Missouri, with friends on spring break, when he boarded the 430-foot tall drop ride. It rose to the top, tilted forward by 30 degrees, then descended, reaching a speed of up to 75 miles per hour. He fell from his seat and was pronounced dead from traumatic injuries. On April 18, commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nikki Fried, announced in Orlando preliminary findings from the engineering firm hired by her office to investigate the fatal accident. Quest Engineering and Failure Analysis determined “manual adjustments were made to the Orlando Drop Tower resulting in the ride being unsafe.” Specifically, Quest discovered that the proximity sensor on Sampson’s shoulder harness, intended to keep riders in their seats, was loosened to permit the harness to be opened seven inches, to accommodate his weight and physique. Safety experts have previously told WESH 2 News, the seat sensor is designed to prohibit the ride from operating when harnesses are not fully closed. Quest’s report states that the manual adjustment of the harness caused Sampson’s seat to be inadequately secured, leading to the teen falling from his seat through the harness opening as it descended. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is continuing its investigation to determine why the seat adjustment was made, and what punishment Slingshot Group and any associated companies may face. The lawsuit also lists Tyre’s height at 6 feet, 2 inches, and his weight at 380 pounds. WESH 2 News previously reported that the Free Fall ride operations and maintenance manual, written by the manufacturer, Funtime Handels GMBH, lists the maximum rider weight at 130 kilograms, or 287 pounds. No signs listing weight restrictions were posted at the ticket counter or near the entrance to the ride. Among the allegations listed against the defendants, “concealing the defective design of the Free Fall Ride, failure to train employees, failure to properly test the ride” and “failure to install seat belts or a secondary safety system.” Ride experts have told WESH 2 News that a safety belt of the same general design as an automobile seat belt, could and should have been attached to the harness and connected to the seat between a rider’s legs. The lawsuit states that such a belt would have cost $22 per seat, or $660 for the entire ride. WESH 2 news spoke with a representative of the Slingshot Group during a Tourist Development Council meeting at the Orange County Commission chambers in Orlando Friday, seeking comment about the findings by the state’s engineering firm, but he declined comment. WESH 2 News has previously reached out to the developer of ICON Park, Chuck Whittall, but our messages were not returned. On March 28, ICON Park suspended the operations of the Free Fall and a neighboring ride, The Slingshot, saying “ICON Park’s mission is to provide safe, family entertainment. We rely on our tenants to be experts at what they do. In the interests of public safety.” Slingshot Group currently has seven locations in Florida, including Magical Midway and Star Flyer on International Drive, Old Town Slingshot in Kissimmee, and Daytona Slingshot in Daytona Beach. The parents of Tyre Sampson are planning a news conference Tuesday morning in St. Louis to discuss the loss of their son, the lawsuit, and why they believe the ride should be permanently shut down and dismantled. Stay with WESH 2 News for updates on this developing story. RELATED: Teen dies after falling from ride at ICON ParkWESH 2 EXCLUSIVE: Man who filmed teen’s deadly fall from FreeFall describes horrific ICON Park accidentRELATED: Deadly ICON Park accident: Investigation into Free Fall reveals ride lacks seatbelts, has unique safety measures

The parents of a 14-year-old boy who fell to his death from the Free Fall ride at Icon Park on March 24 are suing the ride owner, ride manufacturer, construction contractor and ICON Park, which is the landlord of the property where the ride was operated. The lawsuit filed in the 9th Circuit court in Orange County seeks in excess of $30,000 in damages under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, seeking damages on behalf of Tyre Sampson’s family, for pain and suffering, and loss of future earnings.

The complaint lists ICON Park, Orlando Eagle Drop Slingshot/Extreme Amusement Rides, LLC doing business as the Slingshot Group of Companies, which is the operator of the Free Fall ride and whose principal owner is Ritchie Armstrong, Funtime Handels GMBH and Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GMBH, which is an Austrian company that designed and manufactured the ride. Keator Construction, LLC, which built the ride at its location on International Drive and is owned by Clark L. Keator of Ocoee, High Rides, LLC, which is also owned by Ritchie Armstrong, ID Center and I-Drive 360 Management Services, both owned by Chuck Whittall, developer of Icon Park, and IDL Parent, LLC.

The seven-count complaint, brought by Nekia Dodd and Yarnell Sampson, the parents of Tyre Sampson, alleges “negligence” and “strict liability” against all defendants.

Sampson was visiting ICON Park from St. Louis, Missouri, with friends on spring break, when he boarded the 430-foot tall drop ride. It rose to the top, tilted forward by 30 degrees, then descended, reaching a speed of up to 75 miles per hour. He fell from his seat and was pronounced dead from traumatic injuries.

On April 18, commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nikki Fried, announced in Orlando preliminary findings from the engineering firm hired by her office to investigate the fatal accident. Quest Engineering and Failure Analysis determined “manual adjustments were made to the Orlando Drop Tower resulting in the ride being unsafe.”

Specifically, Quest discovered that the proximity sensor on Sampson’s shoulder harness, intended to keep riders in their seats, was loosened to permit the harness to be opened seven inches, to accommodate his weight and physique. Safety experts have previously told WESH 2 News, the seat sensor is designed to prohibit the ride from operating when harnesses are not fully closed.

Quest’s report states that the manual adjustment of the harness caused Sampson’s seat to be inadequately secured, leading to the teen falling from his seat through the harness opening as it descended. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is continuing its investigation to determine why the seat adjustment was made, and what punishment Slingshot Group and any associated companies may face.

The lawsuit also lists Tyre’s height at 6 feet, 2 inches, and his weight at 380 pounds. WESH 2 News previously reported that the Free Fall ride operations and maintenance manual, written by the manufacturer, Funtime Handels GMBH, lists the maximum rider weight at 130 kilograms, or 287 pounds. No signs listing weight restrictions were posted at the ticket counter or near the entrance to the ride.

Among the allegations listed against the defendants, “concealing the defective design of the Free Fall Ride, failure to train employees, failure to properly test the ride” and “failure to install seat belts or a secondary safety system.” Ride experts have told WESH 2 News that a safety belt of the same general design as an automobile seat belt, could and should have been attached to the harness and connected to the seat between a rider’s legs. The lawsuit states that such a belt would have cost $22 per seat, or $660 for the entire ride.

WESH 2 news spoke with a representative of the Slingshot Group during a Tourist Development Council meeting at the Orange County Commission chambers in Orlando Friday, seeking comment about the findings by the state’s engineering firm, but he declined comment.

WESH 2 News has previously reached out to the developer of ICON Park, Chuck Whittall, but our messages were not returned. On March 28, ICON Park suspended the operations of the Free Fall and a neighboring ride, The Slingshot, saying “ICON Park’s mission is to provide safe, family entertainment. We rely on our tenants to be experts at what they do. In the interests of public safety.”

Slingshot Group currently has seven locations in Florida, including Magical Midway and Star Flyer on International Drive, Old Town Slingshot in Kissimmee, and Daytona Slingshot in Daytona Beach.

The parents of Tyre Sampson are planning a news conference Tuesday morning in St. Louis to discuss the loss of their son, the lawsuit, and why they believe the ride should be permanently shut down and dismantled.

Stay with WESH 2 News for updates on this developing story.

RELATED: Teen dies after falling from ride at ICON Park

WESH 2 EXCLUSIVE: Man who filmed teen’s deadly fall from FreeFall describes horrific ICON Park accident

RELATED: Deadly ICON Park accident: Investigation into Free Fall reveals ride lacks seatbelts, has unique safety measures

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