Tyre Sampson's Death 'Worst Tragedy Caught On Video' Since George Floyd Killing, Attorney Says
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Tyre Sampson's death was 'the worst tragedy caught on video' since George Floyd's death, his attorney has claimed.
Tyre 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.
Attorney Ben Crump – who represents his dad, Yarnell – has compared the footage to the killing of George Floyd in 2020, which sparked international Black Lives Matter protests.
Floyd was arrested in Minnesota for alleged fraud, but died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine minutes, despite Floyd repeatedly telling him: "I can't breathe."
Speaking after touring the FreeFall ride with investigators, Crump – who also represented Floyd's family – said: "We are doing a thorough investigation into the tragic killing of this 14-year-old child who should have never been killed. We believe this was completely preventable.
"Other than George Floyd's tragic torture video, I think this is the worst tragedy captured on video that I've ever seen."
Investigators are looking into whether Tyre could have been too heavy for the ride.
The ride's operations and maintenance manual – which has been posted online by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – indicates the maximum passenger weight is 130kg (287lbs).
Tyre's dad Yarnell has said that his son – known by his friends as Big Tick – was 6ft 5ins and weighed 340lbs (154kg).
The manual states: "Be careful when seeing if large guests fit into the seats. Check that they fit within the contours of the seat and the bracket fits properly. If this is not so, do not let this person ride."
An accident report, filed by the operator with the fair rides division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, has revealed that Tyre's seat was still in a locked position when the ride stopped.
Sampson is said to have come out of the seat when the magnets engaged to slow the ride during the descent, according to the report, which was obtained by CNN.
"[The] Harness was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped," the report said.
UNILAD has reached out to ride operator Slingshot Group and ICON Park for comment.
SlingShot Group spokesperson John Stine previously told CBS News it's 'very difficult to say' what went wrong, adding: "The way the ride is designed, with all the safety features and redundancy, there shouldn't be an issue."
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