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14-year-old boy killed in fall from tower ride

Posted at 7:21 AM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 12:49:45-04

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orange County officials say a 14-year-old boy was killed when he fell from a thrill ride at ICON Park while it was operating late Thursday night.

Witnesses told Fox affiliate WOFL they thought a piece of the "Free Fall" tower ride had broken off in mid-air, but then realized it was a person.

They said the boy's family watched in panic from the queue area below.

A video aired by NBC’s “Today” show Friday morning appears to show passengers on the ride discussing issues with a seat restraint Thursday night. The ride then began its trek up the tower before someone is later seen falling from the ride.

At a mid-afternoon briefing with Sheriff John Mina Friday, Tyree Samson was identified as the boy killed. He was visiting Orlando from Missouri.

According to ride operators Slingshot Group, the 430-foot tower sends up to 30 passengers at a time into a 75 mph drop.

Joel Stine, sales and marketing officer for the group, says the company is cooperating fully with the investigation.

"At this point the ride will be closed and we will open when there's an appropriate time after the investigation is completed," Stine said.

Slingshot Group operates three other rides in the area including its namesake attraction, which sits adjacent to the tower ride and has been closed indefinitely as well.

The other rides will remain in operation for the time being.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.