Safety sensors were adjusted on ride where teen fell to death
Posted On April 19, 2022
The average opening for restraints on the seats on the 131m free-fall amusement park ride located in the heart of Orlando’s tourist district was 8.3cm.
However, the opening of the restraint for the seat used by Tyre Sampson was as much as 18cm, and the one for another seat was 16.5cm, according to the report commissioned by the Florida Department of Agriculture, which is investigating the accident.
Sampson was aged 14 but already 195cm (6ft 5) and about 136kg when he slipped out of his seat as the ride plunged to the ground at speeds of 120km/h or more.
An inspection of the seats showed that sensors used to activate safety lights on the two seats, indicating the harness safety restraints were in place, had been adjusted to allow for the wider openings. As the ride slowed down, Tyre slipped through a gap between the seat and safety harness, the report said.
“The cause of the subject accident was that Tyre Sampson was not properly secured in the seat primarily due to mis-adjustment of the harness proximity sensors,” said the report from Quest Engineering and Failure Analysis.
The Orlando Free Fall ride, which is taller than the Statue of Liberty, didn’t experience any electrical or mechanical failures, the report said.
The release of the report marks the initial phase of the investigation into the teen’s death, and “we are far from done,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said at a news conference in Orlando.
The report said there were many other “potential contributions” to the accident and that a full review of the ride’s design and operations was needed.
Tyre’s father Yarnell Sampson told WOFL-TV that his son had premonitions that the ride would kill him after it took off.
“He was explaining to his friends, next to him, ‘I don’t know man, if I don’t make it down safely, can you please tell my mamma and daddy that I love them’,” he said.
“For him to say something like that, he must have felt something.”