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14-year-old boy dies after falling from amusement park ride


(ORLANDO, Fla.) — A 14-year-old boy from Missouri fell to his death while on a new ride at an Orlando amusement park, authorities said.

The incident occurred Thursday shortly after 11 p.m. at ICON Park, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies responded to a 911 call after the boy fell off the Orlando FreeFall, the world’s tallest free-standing drop tower at a height of 430 feet, according to the park.

The teenager was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries, the sheriff’s office said.

The boy, identified by authorities as Tyre Sampson, was visiting Orlando from Missouri with a friend’s family, Orange County Sheriff John Mina told reporters during a briefing Friday afternoon.

The death is believed to be accidental at this stage in the investigation, based on videos and witness statements from “everyone involved,” the sheriff said.

“Our role in this situation is to determine whether or not this is an accident or an intentional act and this does appear just to be a terrible tragedy,” Mina said.

There are no criminal charges filed at this time, Mina said. “We’ll see moving forward what [the investigation] results in,” he said.

The sheriff said he did not have any reports of issues with the new attraction, but noted that further investigation into the ride’s safety will be conducted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.

A 4-minute video posted to social media captured the fatal fall, which occurred at the end of the ride’s descent. Mina said the sheriff’s office has viewed the video and flagged to have it taken down.

“Something that awful shouldn’t be out there in the public,” he said.

The Orlando FreeFall opened in early January, one of two new rides to debut at ICON Park. Up to 30 passengers at a time ride to the top of the tower, where they are tilted toward the ground before going into a nearly 400-foot free fall at over 75 mph.

The attraction will be closed until further notice.

“We are heartbroken with the incident that took the life of one of our guests,” the rider’s operator, SlingShot Group, said in a statement. “We extend our condolences and deepest sympathy to his family and friends. We are working with the Sheriff’s Office and ride officials on a full investigation.”

ICON Park said that it is also cooperating with authorities.

“A tragedy occurred last night at the Orlando FreeFall and our hearts are heavy with sadness,” the park said in a statement.

In 2020, another death occurred at ICON Park when an employee fell from the 450-foot-tall StarFlyer swing ride. A federal investigation found that 21-year-old Jacob David Kaminsky wasn’t hooked up properly to the ride’s safety device when he fell 225 feet while conducting a safety check, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

ABC News’ Matt Foster, Alexander Puri and Mara Robles contributed to this report.

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