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Accident Investigation Found Tyre Sampson's Seat Was Locked When He Fell To His Death On Orlando Thrill Ride

ORLANDO (CBSMiami/CNN) - An investigation by the state revealed that the seat Tyre Sampson fell to his death from on an amusement park ride was locked at the time of the fall.

Sampson, 14, fell last Thursday from the FreeFall drop tower at ICON Park in Orlando. According to the park's website, riders are taken 430 feet up and then dropped at speeds of up to 75 mph.

Sampson came out of the seat when the magnets engaged to slow the ride during the descent, according to the report, which was based on ride employee witnesses.

"Harness was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped," said the report filed by the operator with the Fair Rides division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The report named three witnesses, all listed as employees.

There are also questions about whether the teenager may have been too large to be allowed on the ride.

Sampson's father, Yarnell Sampson, raised that question Friday, "My son was 6'5", 340. So, he's a big guy."

The ride's Operations & Maintenance Manual, which has been posted online by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, indicates the maximum passenger weight is approximately 287 pounds.

"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's not clear if Sampson fit the contours of the seat or if the bracket fit properly.

Video circulating on social media, purportedly of the ICON Park incident, shows a person falling from their seat about five seconds into the ride's drop, perhaps about two-thirds of the way down, as the ride slowed as it approached the ground.

The Slingshot Group operates the ride at the park. The FreeFall ride remains closed.

ICON Park on Monday said it has demanded that Slingshot Group suspend another of its rides at the park, the Orlando SlingShot, "until such time as a thorough investigation by the appropriate authorities has been completed and all parties are satisfied that the rides are safe for the public," the park landlord said in a statement.

(©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report.)

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