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Dad Of Teen Who Fell From Ride And Died Claims Son's Death Treated Differently Because Of Race

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Dad Of Teen Who Fell From Ride And Died Claims Son's Death Treated Differently Because Of Race

The father of a teenager who fell from a theme park ride and died has claimed race has played a role in the response to his death.  

Tyre Sampson died after riding the Orlando FreeFall attraction at ICON Park in Florida on 24 March. 

As the ride dropped, the 14-year-old could be seen falling from it and plummeting to the ground, with footage of the tragedy circulating on social media

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An autopsy last week revealed Sampson died of blunt force trauma, and that he weighed 393lbs – exceeding the 287lbs limit on the ride. 

Speaking at a press conference outside the theme park yesterday, 20 June, after spending his first Father's Day without Tyre, dad Yarnell condemned the response since his son's death. 

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Yarnell said officials had vowed to erect a permanent memorial, but upon his return to the site, he said he found it had been taken down, as the park hosted a festival. 

"I don't want to use the race thing," Yarnell said. "But I believe that because my son is a Black young man, he is getting treated like this. 

"I believe if it was a European child, it would have been different."

Yarnell went on to describe his son as a top student and footballer with a bright future ahead of him. He said: "Everything was lining up for him to be great. 

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"Plus he has talent. He could rap. He was a musician. He had a lot of other things besides football going for him, so why doesn't his life matter?"

The family is suing the ride's owner, manufacturer and landlord, accusing them of negligence and failing to provide a safe amusement ride. The lawsuit claims the defendants did not provide an adequate restraint system. 

Tyre Sampson's mother has argued her son's death 'should have been prevented'. Credit: Alamy
Tyre Sampson's mother has argued her son's death 'should have been prevented'. Credit: Alamy

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump – who is representing the family – said: "Tyre was too big to have been on that ride. There is no question about that."

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He added: "These companies can't get away with this putting profit over safety."

The Florida Commission of Agriculture and Consumer Services is still investigating Tyre's death, and an outside engineering firm hired by the state found the operator of the ride manually changed the sensor on specific seats on the ride, 'resulting in it being unsafe', NBC News reports.

Speaking in April, agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried said: "These mis-adjustments allowed the safety lights to illuminate and properly satisfy the ride's electronic safety mechanisms that allowed the ride to operate, even though Mr. Sampson was not properly secured in the seat."

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Featured Image Credit: KSDK News/FOX 35

Topics: News, US News

Jake Massey
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