Lawyers for the grieving family of a teenage boy who tragically died after falling from an amusement ride in Florida said that ride operators were not properly trained to buckle people.
14-year-old Tyre Sampson, a rising middle school football player, fell out of his seat from a 430ft free-fall ride that is higher than the Statue of Liberty on Thursday night.
“This young man, he was athletic and he was big. He had no way of knowing,” Texas attorney Bob Hilliard said in a Saturday interview.
“This is going to be an issue of a lack of supervision and lack of training. A straight-up negligence case,” Hilliard added.
Video of the horrifying incident showed passengers on the free-fall amusement park ride as they talked about problems with the restraint harness.
Sampson’s stepmother said she saw videos of Tyre and his friends and someone could be heard saying he wasn’t properly restrained.
“What I’m hearing is his friend was talking to him before the situation happened,” his grieving father Yarnell Sampson said.
“He was like, he don’t feel comfortable with the situation, ‘The thing’s not pushing down, you know what I’m saying? And if I don’t make it through then tell my mom and dad I love ’em,’” he continued.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said that the family is “shocked and heartbroken at the loss of their son.”
In a statement on Saturday, the well-known lawyer said: “This young man was the kind of son everyone hopes for – an honor roll student, an aspiring athlete, and a kind-hearted person who cared about others.”
The Icon Park attraction said that it is cooperating with investigators and that the free-fall ride, which opened late last year, will be closed indefinitely.
“We are heartbroken with the incident that took the life of one of our guests. We extend our condolences and deepest sympathy to his family and friends,” said the SlingShot group, which operates the ride.
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