Florida state officials are looking to fine the operators of Orlando’s Free Fall ride at Icon Park and are forwarding their investigation of Tyre Sampson’s death to Orange County law enforcement to see if criminal charges are in order.
The move was announced by Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in a Tallahassee news conference on Tuesday. The oversight body of Florida’s theme park rides has been investigating the death of the 14-year-old for months. Sampson fell from the free fall tower ride after being improperly secured into his seat and later died of his injuries.
“We are seeking an administrative fine exceeding $250,000 – one of the largest administrative fines the department has ever sought – and a permanent revocation of the ride’s operation permit in the state of Florida,” Fried said.
Earlier reports revealed that ride operators modified the restraints, allowing it to operate with Sampson onboard, who was well over manufacturer suggested height and weight limits on the ride. Fried shared that the employees at the park were given “minimal training” on operating the equipment. She noted that there was no training manual for the ride offered to employees.
“Neither the attendants nor the operator had read or seen the manufacturer manual, nor had an operating document been provided to attendants or the operators that were on duty,” Fried said.
The operators of the Orlando Free Fall have already committed to closing and dismantling the ride. It has not reopened since Sampson’s death.