Florida amusement park horror: Dollywood closes drop tower ride made by same manufacturer as Orlando FreeFall

Florida amusement park visitors in shock after seeing teenager fall off ride: ‘Did you check him?’

Florida amusement park visitors were in shock after seeing a teenage boy die after falling off of one of the park’s rides.

Dollywood is closing one of their rides which was developed from the same manufacturer as the Orlando FreeFall ride in Orlando, Florida, where one 14-year-old fell and died on Thursday night.

Tyre Sampson, 14, fell off of the FreeFall ride at Orlando’s ICON Park on Thursday night. The ride is 430-feet-tall, according to the attraction. The ride is operated by the SlingShot Group of Companies.

In a statement a spokesperson for Dollywood said that that their “Drop Line” ride was developed by the same manufacturer as the Orlando FreeFall ride, and said it will be closed “out of an abundance of caution,” according to WATE.

“Although Dollywood does not have the specific ride involved in this tragic incident, the safety of our guests is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, and until further details about the accident at ICON Park are known, we have temporarily closed Drop Line, our drop tower ride that was developed by the same manufacturer,” the spokesperson said.

The entrance to Dollywood is viewed on October 18, 2016 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Located near the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this tourist resort community is home to Dollywood and other entertainment and roadside attractions.
(George Rose/Getty Images)

The Drop Line at Dollywood stands at 230-feet-tall with a maximum speed of 78 miles per hour, according to a fact sheet.

Video footage of the incident shows the Orlando FreeFall ride moments before the 14-year-old fell to his death.

Sampson was taken to a hospital, where he later died from his injuries. Authorities reportedly said that the 911 call was placed just before 11:15 p.m. E.T.

The 14-year-old’s father told FOX 35 Orlando that Tyre was feeling uncomfortable when the ride began.

“When the ride took off, that’s when he was feeling uncomfortable. He was like, ‘This thing is moving.’ … That’s when he started freaking out,” Yarnell Sampson, told FOX 35 Orlando. “He was explaining to his friends next to him … ‘If I don’t make it down … please tell my mom and dad I love them.’ For him to say something like that, he must’ve felt something.”

Tourists enjoy the rides and amenities at ICON Park in Orlando on Thursday, March 24, 2022. International Drive, long considered a tourist-centered stretch between Orlando’s major theme parks, has thrived during the pandemic by rebranding itself as a place for locals to gather too. The Wheel at ICON Park is at left, Orlando SlingShot in middle, and Orlando FreeFall is at right. A 14-year-old boy died after falling from the Orlando FreeFall ride late Thursday evening. 
(Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

“We got a little closer and it was a person laying on the ground,” Montrey Williams said. “Everyone was just panicking and screaming.”

ICON Park tweeted a statement, which says it is cooperating with law enforcement and grieving the tragedy.

Tourists enjoy the rides and amenities at ICON Park in Orlando on Thursday, March 24, 2022. International Drive, long considered a tourist-centered stretch between Orlando’s major theme parks, has thrived during the pandemic by rebranding itself as a place for locals to gather too. The Orlando FreeFall ride is pictured. A 14-year-old boy died after falling from the Orlando FreeFall ride late Thursday evening. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)
(Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

In a statement, the SlingShot Group, which operates the Orlando FreeFall, said that it will cooperate with the investigation and expressed its deepest sympathy to family and friends of Sampson.

“We are heartbroken with the incident that took the life of one of our guests. We extend our condolences and deepest sympathy to his family and friends. We are working with the Sheriff’s Office and ride officials on a full investigation. The Orlando FreeFall will be closed until further notice,” the statement reads.

Fox News’ Julia Musto and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report

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