Florida lawmakers will draft new rider safety measures following the Orlando FreeFall death

The Wheel at ICON Park Orlando is a 400-foot-tall giant observation wheel in International Drive area, where FreeFall Ride death occurred – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by VIAVAL TOURS

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried will introduce new legislation on Wednesday in an effort to improve rider safety as the investigation into the death of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson at ICON park continues.

Other local leaders will join Fried during a virtual press conference at 9:30 a.m.

Officials say the meeting will focus on improving riders’ safety after Tyre’s tragic death, who fell from the Orlando FreeFall ride in March. Fried says she will present a framework for legislation to better rides and rider safety.

The Orange County Medical Examiner conducted the autopsy, which concluded that the boy’s cause of death was the result of blunt force trauma. The manner of death was ruled an accident. The report also brought to light that Sampson weighed nearly 100 pounds over the maximum passenger weight for the ride.

The report detailed several internal and external abrasions, fractures, and lacerations. Initial state findings also claim ride operators conducted manual adjustments to seat him on the ride.

Yarnell Sampson, Tyre’s father, called the Orlando Freefall ride a “death trap” and demanded that it be closed down indefinitely. In the wake of his son’s passing, Yarnell sued a number of businesses, including the ride’s operators and ICON Park. He also demanded a public apology from the ride’s owner, Slingshot Group, as well as a permanent memorial.

“Me and my son’s mother deserve a public apology, stating that ‘we made mistakes, we’re sorry, we can change some things, and maybe we can work with you going forward.’–I’ve gotten none of those things,” Yarnell said.  “So I’m looking forward to that public apology.”

During Wednesday’s press conference, Commissioner Fried will be joined by State Representative Geraldine Thompson and State Senator Randolph Bracy, who both represent Orlando in the Florida legislature.

Fried highlighted last month that the first phase of the investigation into Tyre’s death is finished, and they are currently carefully working on a thorough examination of the ride. The Orlando FreeFall ride’s future plans and potential reopening date, however, were not specified.

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