Final pieces of Orlando FreeFall drop tower at ICON Park are removed

ORLANDO, Fla. – Sky 6 flew over what remained of the Orlando FreeFall drop tower at ICON Park as the final pieces were removed on Tuesday.

The process to take down the 400-foot-tall attraction where 14-year-old Tyre Sampson slipped from his seat and fell to his death began on March 7.

The Orlando FreeFall attraction at ICON Park has been closed since the boy’s death on March 24, 2022.

ICON Park confirmed in a statement in early March that the dismantling of the the thrill ride was underway, saying in part, “We have been supportive of the Slingshot Group’s decision to dismantle the FreeFall tower, and are pleased that the process has begun. The activity will be contained on the southwest corner of the property, and ICON Park’s attractions, restaurants and dining venues will remain open and operating as normal for guests.”

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Sampson’s mother Nekia Dodd visited the site where her son died for the first time on March 15.

“Unfortunately, when he passed, I wasn’t there for him. So, I had to do this,” the teen’s mother, Nekia Dodd, said at a news briefing. “I didn’t want to come under these circumstances, but… I had to. I gotta say, my emotions are all over.”

Weeks after the boy’s fatal fall, attorneys for his family formally filed a lawsuit against Funtime Thrill Rides, the manufacturer; Slingshot Group, the owner-operator in Florida; and ICON Park, which leased the space.

“Personally, I wish this never happened,” Sampson’s father, Yarnell Sampson, said. “But since we’re here, let’s make sure this never happens again to someone else’s child or even an adult.”

The lawsuit alleges the ride’s operators should have known that riders could be “subject to unreasonably dangerous and foreseeable risks, and that serious injury and death of the occupants in the ride could result.”

A bill going through the Florida Legislature would make changes to how attractions like FreeFall are inspected by the government.

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