Operator “mis-adjustments” on an Orlando, Florida, amusement park ride was a contributing factor when a teen slid out of his seat and fell to his death last month, officials said Monday. Tyre Sampson, 14, of Missouri, was killed on March 24 after plunging from the Free Fall attraction at ICON Park, officials said.
Nikki Fried, commissioner of the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said Monday that a forensic engineering firm determined the ride’s operator “made manual adjustments to the ride resulting in it being unsafe.”
“Manual adjustments had been made to the sensor for the seat in question that allowed the harness-to-restraint opening to be almost double that of the normal restraint-opening range,” Fried said at a press conference.
“These mis-adjustments allowed the safety lights to illuminate improperly, satisfying the ride’s electronic safety mechanism that allowed the ride to operate even though Mr. Sampson was never properly secured in the seat.”
Determining if operator error was a factor is only the initial stage of the investigation, Fried said, noting there are many other factors that may have potentially contributed. The investigation remains ongoing, she said.