According to a report released this week by forensic investigators, the 14-year-old who tragically died from a thrill ride in Florida last month was in a seat that had initially been manually adjusted in a manner that rendered the ride “unsafe.”
According to a report by Quest Engineering and Failure Analysis, the seat that Tyre Sampson fell from, deterred safety sensors from shutting down the ride, despite the fact that the space between the seat and the harness was too vast.
At a press conference on Monday, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried said, “This report confirmed our department’s findings that an operator of the Orlando drop tower made manual adjustments to the ride, resulting in it being unsafe.”
Fried and the report make no mention of when the sensors were changed or who made the change.
According to Quest’s investigation, there was no mechanical or electrical failure on the ride.
For the ride to work, two safety lights that illuminate once the seat’s harness is secured in a certain position must be activated.
Sampson’s seat-to-harness gap was found to be over twice the average gap in 27 other seats on the ride. Because the plate housing the proximity sensors had been adjusted, the safety lights remained illuminated, allowing the ride to function normally.
The space between Sampson’s seat and closed harness would have been the same as the other 27 seats on the ride, according to the investigation.
The report also stated that when enough force is applied, the gap between the seats and the harnesses can widen another 3 inches, implying that the gap between Sampson’s seat and harness could have been as large as ten inches while the ride was functioning.
During the investigation, it was discovered that two people of similar height and weight to Sampson “were able to slip through the restraint opening without any assistance.”
Sampson was 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed more than 300 pounds when he died on March 24 after falling from the Orlando FreeFall ride at Orlando’s Icon Park.