‘Tyre Sampson Act:’ Teen’s death from amusement ride will help increase safety on rides in FL

By: - April 28, 2023 12:00 pm

Tyre Sampson fell to his death on March 24, 2022, on the Orlando FreeFall ride at ICON Park. Credit: Attorney Ben Crump’s Facebook page, dated Aug. 17, 2022

In March of last year, 14-year-old Tyre Sampson fell to his death from a 400-foot tower ride operated by Orlando Slingshot. On Friday, the Florida Senate unanimously approved legislation to ensure that amusement rides are safe in Florida.

The legislation is titled the “Tyre Sampson Act.” The House is moving on the legislation as well.

The young man from Missouri had been visiting Florida when he went on the ride. “Investigators concluded that changes made to the ride by the ride operators after initial installation contributed to Tyre Sampson’s death, according to the legislation.”

Since then, the ride has been shut down and the company involved has been fined. A lawsuit was filed as well.

Sampson was “a 4.0 grade point average student and a 5-star athlete whose life was cut short, whose potential and promise was cut short, and we want to make sure that this kind of tragedy does not happen again to another family,” said Sen. Geraldine Thompson, who represents part of Orange County and is the bill sponsor.

In addition, “This is a bill that’s good for families for the industry and for the whole amusement ride industry,” Thompson said during discussion in the Senate.

The legislation “requires permanent amusement rides operated for the first time in this state after a specified date, to have a ride commissioning and certification report on file with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (department) within a specified timeframe.

“The bill provides requirements for permanent and temporary amusement ride permits and creates new reporting requirements for an affidavit of nondestructive testing.  Additionally, the bill revises the circumstances under which the owner or manager of an amusement ride is required to report an accident and under which the department may impound an amusement ride involved in an accident,” according to a legislative analysis.

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.