The Orlando FreeFall drop tower ride at Icon Park in Orlando has been closed since 14-year-old Tyre Sampson was ejected from the ride and fell to his death on March 24, 2022. Now the owners and operators of the 400-foot-tall ride, Orlando Slingshot Group, have decided to take the FreeFall tower down.
In addition to the removal of the tower, the Slingshot Group is also setting up a Scholarship in Tyre Sampson’s name. Details of the scholarship are being developed and further information will be shared in the future after consultation with Tyre’s family.
“We are devastated by Tyre’s death. We have listened to the wishes of Tyre’s family and the community, and have made the decision to take down the FreeFall,” said Ritchie Armstrong, with Orlando Slingshot. “In addition, Orlando Slingshot will honor Tyre and his legacy in the classroom and on the football field by creating a scholarship in his name.”
The timeline for removing the FreeFall drop tower are still being finalized. There’s also no mention if anything will replace it, or the fate of the Slingshot ride next to it, which has also been closed since the incident, although it’s assumed it will reopen after the tower is removed. Orlando Slingshot Group leases the land from Icon Park, who released this statement: “Tyre’s death is a tragedy that we will never forget. As the landlord, Icon Park welcomes and appreciates Orlando Slingshot’s decision to take down the ride.”
The teen’s family has an ongoing lawsuit against Orlando Slingshot Group, Icon Park, and the drop tower’s manufacturers and installers. Ben Crump of Ben Crump Law and Bob Hilliard of Hilliard Martinez Gonzales released the following statement:
“While this announcement is long overdue, the news today is a relief to Tyre Sampson’s grieving father, who has been advocating for this since the day Tyre fell to his death. The Orlando Free Fall ride never should have been permitted to operate under those faulty conditions. Theme parks, their parent companies, and regulatory agencies must do better to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening to any other family.”
The Orlando Slingshot Group also operates the Starflyer ride on the other side of the Icon Park complex.