Teen who fell to his death from rollercoaster was over max weight limit – park

A teenage boy may have been too heavy for the rollercoaster ride that he fell from, causing his death, the theme park where it happened said.

Tyre Sampson, 14, fell to his death last Thursday (March 24) from the FreeFall drop tower at ICON Park on International Drive, Orlando, Florida.

The attraction is the world's tallest free-standing drop tower, according to the ICON Park website.

A preliminary accident report into what caused him to fall found that the locking mechanism on Tyre Sampson's seat was working, but that he may have been too heavy for the ride.

The kid, who weighed around 350lbs or 25st, appeared to come out of his seat just as magnets activated to slow the ride down on its descent.

"When the magnets engaged, the patron came out of the seat. Harness was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped," reads part of the report filed by the operator with the fair rides division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The FreeFall sees riders hoisted 430ft in the air before forcefully dropping them at speeds reaching 75mph, exerting massive G-forces in the process.

The ride's operations and maintenance manual dictated that the maximum weight limit the ride could tolerate was around 287lbs, or 20.5st. He was closer to 350lbs, or 25st.

"Be careful when seeing if large guests fit into the seats. Check that they fit within the contours of the seat and the bracket fits properly. If this is not so — Do not let this person ride," the manual states.

It is not known whether Sampson fit the contours of the seat or if the bracket fit properly.

Shay Johnson, the youngster's cousin, revealed that Sampson had already been turned away from two other rides at the park on the night he died.

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"He tried the (FreeFall) ride, they let him get on, but I don't understand why would ya'll? He can't ride those two, but ya'll let him get on (FreeFall)?" Johnson said.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death and no criminal charges have been filed but the investigation remains open.

"The restraint was definitely not properly secured," Ken Martin, a private ride safety inspector based in Virginia said to ClickOrlando.

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"They want to make sure all the mechanisms are working. I know and have seen pictures of the ride that indicate there are no seat belts on the ride, which would classify as only one redundant safety system."

Martin said he was surprised that there were no seatbelts on the ride.

"He didn't fit in the ride, he just didn't fit in the ride!" Martin added.

"We know this young man has been reported by his father that he weighed 350lbs. I do not care how athletic a person is, or how strong they are.

"There is no way a person who weighs that amount subjected to -2 Gs can hold themselves in the ride," Martin said.

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