Tyre Sampson: Safety Sensors Were Manually Adjusted on Amusement Park Ride That Led Teen to Fall to Death from 430 Feet

Investigations revealed that after making the adjustment manually a 6-7-inch gap between his harness and the top of the seat horn was created.

The safety sensors on the doomed Florida amusement park ride that killed a teenager had been modified to double the size of the opening for restraints on two seats, investigators revealed on Monday. Tyre Sampson, 14, was not properly secured in his seat before he plunged to his death from the Free Fall ride last month at Orlando's ICON Park, investigators said.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a report on Monday, shedding light on the death of Sampson, saying that the ride became unsafe due to the adjustments made manually. Due to the manually made adjustment, Sampson fell to his death.

Human Blunder

Tyre Sampson
Tyre Sampson (right) unbuckled harness was hanging over his shoulders. Twitter

Fried said that human error is to be blamed for the tragic death of Sampson. "This report confirmed our department's finding that the operator of the Orlando drop tower made manual adjustments to the ride resulting in it being unsafe," FDACS Commissioner Nikki Fried said at a press conference Monday.

Fried said that investigations prove that adjustment "allowed the harness restraint opening to be almost double that of the normal restraint opening range."

On March 24, Sampson, a St. Louis resident, went to the ICON park with a friend and his family, and the four of them opted to ride the Free Fall, which had just debuted in December. The ride takes 30 guests to a height of 430 feet on the world's tallest free-standing drop tower.

They then tilt forwards and plunge 400 feet at speeds reaching 75 mph.

Investigations revealed that after making the adjustment manually a 6-7-inch gap between his harness and the top of the seat horn was created. Other seats had a 3.33-inch distance on average.

Tyre Sampson
Tyre Sampson Twitter

"These misadjustments allowed the safety lights to illuminate and properly satisfy the ride's electronic safety mechanism that allowed the ride to operate even though Mr. Samson was not properly secured in his seat," Fried said.

Family Wants Justice

Sampson fell out of the harness feet first, slipping over the seat horn that lay between his legs, according to a team of forensic engineers hired by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on Monday.

Modern sensors monitoring the three-month-old ride would ordinarily have notified operators that the gap was abnormally big.

Tyre Sampson seat
The difference between the space in two seats Twitter

The officials did not reveal who made the adjustments to the harness or when. Sampson's family is still in shock and demand justice for the tragic death of their son. Samson's relatives claimed that he weighed more over 300 pounds and that he was turned away from other attractions at the park owing to safety concerns.

Sampson stood 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 340 pounds, according to his father, Yarnell. The ride's operation handbook said that riders could weigh up to 286 pounds. The engineers didn't say whether Sampson should have been allowed to ride or not.

Tyre Sampson
Tyre Sampson Twitter

The investigators found that the ride "did not experience a mechanical or electrical failure."

The safety harness on his seat was "still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped," according to a previous report.

In a statement, Trevor Arnold, an attorney for Orlando Slingshot, which owns and operates the attraction, said the company followed the ride's manufacturer's "all rules, processes, and safety precautions."

However, the ride will remain closed as of now. "Given these outstanding concerns, the drop tower will remain closed indefinitely," Fried said.