Father of teen who fell from Orlando ride says death ‘swept under rug’

0
3
Father of teen who fell from Orlando ride says death 'swept under rug'

The father of a Missouri teen who died after plunging from an Orlando amusement park ride in March said his son’s death is being “swept under the rug” by park operators because he is black.

Speaking at a press conference in front of the Free Fall attraction at ICON Park Monday, Yarnell Sampson said his family has not been treated respectfully in the wake of his passing.

“I don’t want to use the race thing,” he said. “But I believe that because my son is a black young man he is getting treated like this. I believe it was a European child it would have been different.”

Tyre Sampson, 14, plummeted from the ride at high speed and died from blunt force trauma caused by smashing into the concrete below, an autopsy found.

Yarnell Sampson’s attorney, Ben Crump, said Monday that the report found that the impact lacerated several of the boy’s internal organs.

His father, who said his son’s bloated face was nearly unrecognizable at his funeral, ripped both the ride’s manufacturer and ICON Park for failing to permanently shutter and dismantle the ride and for not placing a permanent memorial at the site.

Attorney Ben Crump
Attorney Ben Crump said that the report found that the impact lacerated several of the boy’s internal organs.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The ride is currently closed indefinitely while an investigation is ongoing.

“I refuse to let this get swept under the rug,” he said. “Because my son didn’t deserve this.”

Sampson also asserted that there was a party taking place at the park near the site of his son’s death over the weekend — a scene he found disrespectful.

Teen on the amusement park ride before his death
Tyre Sampson plummeted from the ride at high speed and died from blunt force trauma caused by smashing into the concrete below, an autopsy found.
Facebook

An investigation into the incident — which was captured on video and went viral after Sampson’s death — determined that the standout football player significantly exceeded the ride’s weight limit.

His family said he had been turned away from other rides because of his weight.

A probe by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services also determined that a safety harness on the ride had been manipulated to accommodate Sampson’s size.

A photo of Tyre Sampson rests at a memorial site outside the Orlando Free Fall drop tower ride at ICON Park in Orlando on Tuesday, March 29, 2022
A photo of Tyre Sampson rests at a memorial site outside the Orlando Free Fall drop tower ride at ICON Park in Orlando on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.
Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP

Crump said Monday that a lawsuit against several parties — including the ride’s manufacturer, the Slingshot Group — is pending, and that additional defendants are being considered.

“These companies cannot be allowed to get away with this, putting profit over safety,” Crump said. “To Slingshot Group, to ICON Park executives, you all cannot simply sweep this under the rug as if Tyre Sampson death doesn’t matter.”

The teen’s father said he missed receiving an annual Father’s Day phone call from his boy on Sunday — and that the occasion was doubly painful because it landed on his own birthday.

He added that Sampson was a top student and had a promising future ahead of him.

Yarell Sampson, father of Tyre Sampson
Yarell Sampson, father of Tyre Sampson, said his family has not been treated respectfully in the wake of his passing.
FOX35 Orlando

“Everything was lining up for him to be great,” he said. “Plus, he has talent. He could rap. He was a magician. He had a lot of other things besides football going for him. So why doesn’t his life matter?”

An attorney for the Slingshot Group said the firm is working with the family, including Sampson’s mother, Nekia Dodd.

“We continue to communicate and cooperate with representatives of Tyre’s family, as well as the Department of Agriculture,” lawyer Trevor Arnold said after the release of the autopsy report. “We are devoted to working with our lawmakers in making lasting safety changes in the amusement park industry.”

Florida officials want to pass laws that would take prior safety incidents into account when approving new contracts for ride placements.

Source link