Tyre Sampson, 14, 'knew something was wrong with his harness and was freaking out' before Icon theme park fall, dad says

THE dad of a teen boy who died falling from a theme park ride said his son knew his safety harness was not fitted right.

Yarnell Sampson added that Tyre, 14, begged friends next to him to tell his parents he loved them.

He told Fox News his son began to panic when the Free Fall ride at Orlando took off on Thursday and knew his restraint bar was moving.

Yarnell added: “That's when he started freaking out. And he was explaining to his friends, next to him, 'I don't know man, if I don't make it down, safely, can you please tell my mamma and daddy that I love them,

“For him to say something like that, he must have felt something.”

His son died after falling 400ft from the world's tallest drop ride at ICON Park in Orlando, Florida.


Video shows boy’s harness was not buckled before he fell from 400ft ride

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Tyre, who was on a football program trip from St. Louis, Missouri, was 6ft 5ins and weighed 340lbs.

Yarnell said other rides refused to let him on because he was too big, but Free Fall operators let him on.

He added: “This particular ride decided ‘yeah, we can take you, get on,’ when nobody else would allow him to get on the rides.”

It comes after chilling 911 calls from ICON Park claimed staff failed to properly secure the teenager's seatbelt, The US Sun revealed.

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Video shows boy's harness was not buckled before he fell from 400ft ride

A man in a second call said: "The ride was going and during the middle of the ride, the guy just came off."

Asked if Tyre was awake, he responded: "No, he's dead. He's dead. He's gone. He's face down, there's blood everywhere.

"He's not breathing. I've checked his pulse, there's no pulse."

And his harness appears to be buckled incorrectly when he was sitting on the ride with it hanging over his shoulders, video showed.

But the ride came without seatbelts and only had plastic pull-down harnesses which should buckle in between a rider's legs.

But a ride worker was seen joking about the seat belts and safety just moments before Tyre fell to his death.

A rider asked: "Why doesn't this have the little clicky click? Like the seat belt?"

An operator asked: "You talking about a seat belt?"

Another added as the ride began: "Have you checked your seat belt? On the left side. Seat belt?"

A man believed to be Tyre's granddad said his heart was so heavy, adding: "He had so so so many plans. This is unbelievable. This gotta be a dream."

Step-mum Wendy called him a respectful gentle giant, adding he will be truly missed.

Football coach Brandon Gregory, thought to have been with Tyre on the night, wrote: "Get your rest kid. As a coach you hate that phone call I received last night.

"Please keep his family and former/current teammates and coaches in prayer. He was getting away from St Louis to enjoy his Spring break. He was so happy."

Orange County Sheriff John Mina yesterday said it appeared to be a tragic situation, adding: "Our role is to determine whether or not this is an accident or intentional act.

"This does appear to be a terrible tragedy."

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An ICON Park spokesman said: "The ICON Park family is grieving because of the tragedy involving Tyre Sampson.

"ICON Park is committed to being a place where families can spend quality time together in a safe a fun space."

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