Orlando FreeFall: Amusement park security expert says “someone killed” teenager and charge should be brought

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A road safety expert believes that “someone killed” the teenager who died after falling from a walk in the amusement park in Florida, and believes that charges should be brought for the teenager’s death.

Tire Sampson, 14, fell from the Orlando FreeFall ride at ICON Park in Orlando, Florida, March 24. An operating manual for the Orlando FreeFall trip says the maximum passenger weight is just over 286 pounds. Sampson, who lived in Missouri, was 6 feet, 5 inches tall and reportedly weighed 360 pounds.

Ken Martin, a security analyst and consultant at the theme park, told Fox News Digital he believes the Orlando FreeFall incident is “criminal,” saying “someone killed Mr. Tire Sampson.”

“I’m sorry. With all these circumstances, all these incidents that took place, it’s criminal. Someone killed Mr. Tire Sampson,” Martin said.

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Orlando FreeFall Falls Tower at ICON Park in Orlando, Fla., March 28, 2022. Tire Sampson, 14, was killed when he fell from the trip.

Orlando FreeFall Falls Tower at ICON Park in Orlando, Fla., March 28, 2022. Tire Sampson, 14, was killed when he fell from the trip.
(Orlando Sentinel via Getty)

Martin suggests forming a large jury with input from people in the industry who say someone should be charged with Sampson’s death. Martin said the tour operator should have seen that the shoulder harness was not in the right place, adding that “several reasons” led to the incident.

“When Mr. Sampson came on the ride, the driver had to have come around and tried to pull the shoulder strap over him and lock it,” Martin said. “We all saw it. We know the shoulder support did not fall down where it should be, and you know that is a problem.”

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Tires Sampson

Tires Sampson
(FOX 35 Orlando)

An accident report completed by an employee states that the seat belt was in the locked position after the Tire fell out.

“FreeFall came down into the tower. When the magnets engaged, the protector came out of the seat,” an employee wrote in the report. “The harness was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped.”

Martin said there is a need for a uniform code for amusement parks, specifically for signage that warns passengers of restrictions and safety requirements for a particular trip before entering.

Current Florida law allows a manufacturer to determine what to put in – and what to keep out – of passenger restriction signs.

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Tourists enjoy the rides and facilities at ICON Park in Orlando, Fla., March 24, 2022.

Tourists enjoy the rides and facilities at ICON Park in Orlando, Fla., March 24, 2022.
(Stephen M. Dowell / Orlando Sentinel)

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services released its commissioned engineering report conducted by Quest Engineering last week, which says a “proximity sensor” to the harness used by Sampson was “manually loosened,” meaning Sampson was not properly secured in his seat.

Nikki Fried, Florida’s commissioner for agriculture and consumer services, said at a news conference last week that “misalignments” were made to the seat’s proximity sensor that allowed a safety light to illuminate, allowing Sampson to drive even though he was not “properly secured in the seat.”

“These misalignments allowed the safety lights to illuminate – which does not meet the vehicle’s electronic safety mechanisms – allowing the ride to function even though Mr. Sampson was not properly secured in the seat,” Fried said. “The report confirms that manual adjustments were made to the sensor for the seat in question, which allowed the restraint opening of the belt to be almost twice the normal opening range of the restraint system.”

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The Orlando FreeFall ride is pictured.  A 14-year-old boy died after falling from the ride on March 24.

The Orlando FreeFall ride is pictured. A 14-year-old boy died after falling from the ride on March 24.
(Stephen M. Dowell / Orlando Sentinel)

Samson’s harness had a proximity sensor that “was manually loosened, adjusted and tightened to allow a retention opening of nearly seven inches,” according to the report.

Usually, the range is around three inches, according to the report.

“Orlando Slingshot has fully cooperated with the state in the initial phase of the investigation and we will continue to do so until it is officially completed,” said Trevor Arnold, an attorney representing operator Orlando Slingshot, in a statement to Fox News Digital.

“All protocols, procedures and safety precautions given to us by the manufacturer of the ride were followed. Today’s report proposes a full review of the ride’s design, safety, operation, restraint mechanisms and history – which we of course welcome. We look forward to work with the Florida legislature to implement industry change, as the safety of our patrons is always our top priority. “

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The ride has been closed since Sampson’s death on March 24. Depending on the outcome of the department’s investigation, it could be closed forever, Fried said during an earlier news conference.

Fox News’ Jon Brown contributed to this report.

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