The parents of a 14-year-old boy who fell to his death from a 430ft (130m) ride at a theme park in Florida have sued its owner, manufacturer and landlord.
Tyre Sampson, died on 24 March after falling off the Free Fall attraction at Orlando’s ICON Park.
Nekia Dodd and Yarnell Sampson, his mother and father, filed a lawsuit in state court in Orlando on Monday claiming the defendants were negligent and failed to provide a safe amusement ride.
Death ‘could’ve been prevented’
It also claimed that they failed to warn the teenager, who was 6ft2 and weighed 172kg (about 27st), about the risks of someone of his size going on the ride and says they did not provide an appropriate restraint system on the ride.
Ms Dodd, said her son’s death “could’ve been prevented, it should’ve been prevented” in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America show.
While most free-fall rides have a shoulder harness and a seatbelt, the Orlando Free Fall ride had only an over-the-shoulder harness.
Adding seat belts to the ride’s 30 seats would have cost $660, the lawsuit said.
During construction the Orlando Free Fall was billed as the world’s tallest free-standing drop tower.
At the time of the accident, Tyre was on spring break, visiting from the St Louis area.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer who is representing Tyre’s family, said the defendants in the case “showed negligence in a multitude of ways”.
A lawyer for the ride’s owner, Orlando Slingshot, said the company was continuing to cooperate with state investigators into what happened.
“We reiterate that all protocols, procedures and safety measures provided by the manufacturer of the ride were followed,” Trevor Arnold said in an emailed statement.
Sensors on the ride ‘adjusted’
A spokesperson for the landlord, ICON Park, did not immediately comment on the lawsuit.
Last week, an initial report by outside engineers hired by the Florida department of agriculture said sensors on the ride had been adjusted manually to double the size of the opening for restraints on two seats, resulting in Tyre not being properly secured before he slipped out and fell to his death.
The Orlando Free Fall ride, which is taller than the Statue of Liberty, did not experience any electrical or mechanical failures, the report said.
The report said there were many other “potential contributions” to the accident and that a full review of the ride’s design and operations was needed.