Slingshot Ride Reopened One Year After Teenager’s Death at ICON Park in Orlando

After 14-year-old Tyre Sampson died in a fall from the FreeFall ride at Orlando’s ICON Park, another ride re-opened after being closed for a year for safety concerns. According to a report, the Slingshot ride re-opened one year after the teenager’s death after being closed for further safety inspections. The same day the ride re-opened, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also signed legislation that would impose more stringent safety regulations on smaller amusement parks like ICON Park. While these new measures come too late for Mr. Sampson and his family, they are a welcome change for an industry whose spotty safety record has resulted in unnecessary injuries and deaths in Florida.

Tyre Sampson’s Death

Tyre Sampson, who was 6’5” and 340 lbs, plunged to his death from the FreeFall ride at ICON Park in Orlando in March 2022, due to what was later determined to be a loose harness. A state investigation also revealed that the ride’s operators had manually adjusted the ride restraints to allow for larger riders than the manufacturer’s recommendations. On October 6th, ICON Park announced the Free Fall ride would be permanently closed. Slingshot Group, the owner and operator of both the Free Fall ride and the Slingshot ride, agreed to pay a $250,000 fine to settle a lawsuit with the State of Florida over Sampson’s death. Sampson’s family also received an undisclosed sum after filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Slingshot Group.

The Tyre Sampson Act

Coincidentally, on the same day that the Slingshot ride re-opened one year after his death, Governor DeSantis signed the Tyre Sampson Act into law. This legislation enforces tighter regulations on ride adjustments, signage, and training at smaller amusement parks like ICON Park. It also requires further documentation from park/ride owners/operators when a ride is modified and prohibits changing a ride beyond its recommended manufacturer settings. The Act also requires that weight restrictions be posted for rides and provides for unannounced inspections by state regulators. Violations of the new restrictions can result in suspension of a park/ride owner’s ability to operate depending on the violation in question. It goes into effect on July 1, 2023.

Amusement and Adventure Park Safety In Florida

Florida contains many large amusement parks and other entertainment venues. It also has many smaller amusement parks like ICON Park in Orlando, which previously were far less-regulated by the state than larger parks. Florida is a tourist destination for families and their children, so it is important that all amusement parks, regardless of their size, be as safe as possible. Not all amusement or adventure parks are created equal, particularly when it comes to safety. Thankfully, smaller parks will now be held to higher standards than before Tyre Sampson’s death, but unfortunately it took his death to prompt the state to act.

Contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley if You or A Loved One Have Been Injured in a Florida Amusement or Adventure Park Accident

At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 200 years of combined legal experience representing those injured in a wide variety of scenarios, including in Florida amusement or adventure park accidents. Although the passage of the Tyre Sampson Act in the wake of the teenager’s March 2022 tragic death at ICON Park in Orlando was a positive step forward, nothing will bring him back. Although amusement and adventure parks and rides can be fun and exciting, amusement and adventure park accidents can and do occur with regularity given the checkered safety records or lack of proper safety precautions at many parks. If you or one of your loved ones have been the victim of a Florida amusement or adventure park accident, you may be entitled to substantial damages. Therefore if you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida amusement or adventure park accident, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today at contact@schwedlaw.com or (877) 694-6079 today.