TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As a crane arrived at the Orlando FreeFall at ICON Park in Orlando to start dismantling the ride, a local Florida lawmaker is pushing for increased ride safety ahead of the year anniversary since a 14-year-old boy fell to his death from the attraction.
While rain and gusty winds put off work temporarily at the ride on Monday, the Senate Committee on Agriculture was set to discuss the Tyre Sampson Act, filed by Sen. Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) last month.
The proposed law, named after the Missouri teenager who died after falling from his seat March 24 of last year, would create minimum training standards for ride attendants and ramp up the state’s authority to oversee amusement rides by allowing for unannounced ride inspections. It would also require additional inspections after a ride operator performs a major modification.
A state investigation into Sampson’s death found that a safety sensor had been adjusted on two of the ride’s seats, allowing a gap of up to 7 inches between the harness and the seats to accommodate larger patrons. Sampson weighed nearly 100 pounds above the ride’s approved limit.
A companion bill would make state ride investigation materials exempt from the public record during investigations.
Attorneys for the ride’s operator confirmed a crane is expected to arrive this week to start taking down the ride.