Orlando FreeFall death investigation: No one immediately helped Tyre Sampson after fall death, witnesses say

Immediately after 14-year-old Tyre Sampson fell off the Orlando FreeFall ride at ICON Park there was panic and confusion with multiple people calling 911, according to new 911 recordings released Tuesday, as well as the Orange County Sheriff's Office incident report.

According to the report, Sampson went on the ride with one of his football friends. At the top, his friend "became nervous and closed his eyes" until the ride came down. By that point, Sampson had already fallen off the ride to the ground below. He was taken to the hospital where he died.

Sampson was visiting Orlando from St. Louis, Missouri with another family.

The father of Sampon's friend was with the boys at ICON Park and was watching them on the ride with his girlfriend, according to the incident report. Both saw Sampson fall from what appeared to be the ride's halfway point, and noted that he was breathing, but unresponsive, the incident report stated. 

No one seemingly performed life-saving measures on Sampson until first-responders arrived, the two told deputies, according to the report.

The friend's dad told deputies that an employee who was wearing a "red beanie" was in charge of securing Sampson and his friend in their seats.

Authorities released four 911 calls.

One woman called 911 in a panic and tried to let dispatchers know where she was and where the emergency happened.

Woman: "Sir, what is this called?' I don’t know. I don’t know. Please help"
Dispatcher: Was it the Orlando Eye? The thing that goes into a circle?"
Woman: "No, no, no."

"The ride was going and during the middle of the ride, the guy came off," another man told a 911 dispatcher. "He's dead. He's dead." 


A state-ordered investigation by Quest Engineering, a forensics firm, concluded that the ride's operators manually altered two of the harness proximity sensors on two of the seats to accommodate larger guests.

"These misadjustments allowed the safety lights to illuminate – improperly satisfying the ride's electronic safety mechanisms -- that allowed the ride to operate even though Mr. Sampson was not properly secured in the seat," said Nikki Fried, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, whose agency inspects rides at smaller amusement parks.

The report concluded that there were multiple other contributing factors that led to Sampson's death, but did not elaborate. It also concluded that the ride itself did not experience an electrical or mechanical failure.


Tyre's parents – Yarnell Sampson and Nekia Dodd – filed a wrongful death lawsuit against ICON Park, Orlando FreeFall, The Slingshot Group, the manufacturer of the ride, and the construction company that built it.

"He was a go-getter. For him not to be here, it's devastating. He was on his way. He was going to be known, but not like this," she said.

Yarnell Sampson told reporters that he learned of his son's death by watching the video as it was being rapidly shared on social media, though he did not know the first time he watched it that it was his son who fell.

 "I was sick when I first seen it," he said.

"It makes me numb and helpless because I wasn't there to protect my son. But I'm here now to speak up for my son," he said.

Dodd also said that she wants the ride to be taken down.

The ride has been shut down since Sampson's death pending multiple investigations. The ride's owner, The Slingshot Group, owns Orlando Slingshot, which also opened in December 2021 at ICON Park, Orlando Starflyer, and other slingshot-style rides around Florida.