ORLANDO (WFLA) – The father of the boy who fell from a ride to his death at ICON Park in Orlando in March spoke on the release of his son’s autopsy on Monday.
Tyre Sampson, 14, fell to his death from the “Orlando Free Fall” ride at ICON Park on March 24.
Civil rights and personal injury attorney Benjamin Crump and Sampson’s father held a news conference to discuss the recently released autopsy of Sampson’s son.
“Confirmed everything we suspected,” Crump said of the autopsy.
The autopsy revealed the teenager died from blunt force trauma after falling more than 70 feet.
WESH 2 News reported the autopsy showed the teen suffered serious internal injuries, as well as injuries to his head, neck and torso after falling.
Those injuries included a broken arm, a broken leg, a fractured jaw and several fractured ribs.
“It felt like the first day I found out, when I saw the video virally, when I found out,” said Tyre Sampson’s father, Yarnell, about reading the autopsy report.
WESH reported Sampson’s death was ruled an accident.
A Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services investigation shows harness sensors on two of the seats were manipulated to accommodate larger riders.
The ride’s weight limit for a rider was 287 pounds. The autopsy reportedly showed the teen was 383 pounds. A ride safety analyst said he should never have been allowed to get on the ride.
It is still not publicly known who directed the manual adjustment.
The state investigation is ongoing.
Yarnell Sampson, Tyre’s father, traveled to Florida on Friday to visit the site where he son died. Yarnell said Sunday, in addition to the date being Juneteenth and Father’s Day, it was also his birthday.
“This is the first year and the first time that me as a father, I’m not having my son with on me on Father’s Day, on my birthday,” he said. “This is my celebration to be with my son. To respect his wishes, to keep this justice thing going.”
Yarnell wants the ride removed from the park permanently. He said he also expected there to be a permanent memorial for his son at the park, something he said he did not find when he traveled to Orlando.
He said when visiting the park over the weekend he asked “100 people” if they knew his son had died and said “only five” knew of the incident.
Crump said ICON Park was supposed to erect a permanent memorial at the park and now there is “no evidence [Yarnell’s] son ever died here.”
“They were having a party and a celebration and that was very hurtful to Yarnell,” Crump said.
“As long as I’m here, I’m going to speak up for him,” Yarnell said.
8 On Your Side reached out to Orlando Slingshot, the ride operator, about the removal of a community-made memorial that had been at the site since the teen’s death in March.
“We have been coordinating with representatives of Tyre’s family to return items from the memorial area to them, and we will continue to do so in the future,” wrote Trevor Arnold, GrayRobinson P.A., attorney for Orlando Slingshot in a statement.
Representative Geraldine Thompson was also present at the press conference and said she is working on the “Tyre Sampson Bill” to be filed the first day of the next legislative session.
Rep. Thompson said the bill will take safety records in to account of any company that wants to operate a ride.
She also wants more signage for height and weight limits present at the park.
Trevor Arnold of GrayRobinson for Orlando Slingshot, released a statement on the autopsy report on June 13.
“The loss of Tyre Sampson was a tragic accident. We continue to communicate and cooperate with representatives of Tyre’s family, as well as the Department of Agriculture. We are devoted to working with our lawmakers in making lasting safety changes in the amusement park industry,” the statement reads.
Orlando Slingshot said it is hoping to reopen its Slingshot attraction, which is next to the FreeFall attraction, “once we have all the necessary approvals from the Department of Agriculture.”
The company voluntarily closed that ride after Sampson’s death.
The state has shut down the Orlando FreeFall ride pending its investigation.
Orlando Slingshot has no plans to open a new ride at Icon Park, according to the company.