ORLANDO, Fla. — A Missouri teenager died of blunt force trauma after falling from a 430-foot (130-meter) Florida drop-tower amusement park ride, according to an autopsy released Monday.
The report by the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office also ruled that 14-year-old Tyre Sampson’s death in March was an accident. Sampson slipped out of his seat about halfway down the Free Fall ride located in a tourist area of Orlando.
The autopsy showed that Sampson, who played football in the St. Louis area, weighed 383 pounds (173 kilograms) when he died. Sampson was in Orlando with a friend’s family for vacation and his size has been examined as a potential factor.
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An initial report by outside engineers hired by the Florida Department of Agriculture said sensors on the ride had been adjusted manually to double the size of the opening for restraints on two seats, resulting in Sampson not being properly secured.
Sampson’s parents have sued the ride’s owner, manufacturer and landlord, saying they were negligent and failed to provide a safe amusement ride. The lawsuit said the defendants failed to warn Sampson about the risks of someone of his size going on the ride and that they did not provide an appropriate restraint system.
An attorney for the ride’s owner, Orlando Slingshot, has said the company is cooperating with state investigators into what happened.