ORLANDO, Fla. - Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and State Senator Randolph Bracy hosted what they called a "community conversation" on Wednesday about the rides at ICON Park – including the Orlando FreeFall where 14-year-old Tyre Sampson was killed.
They talked about making changes, so it never happens again.
"We are not going to rush this. We want to make sure that we are doing everything possible to get to the bottom of what happened."
Fried emphasized that the first stage of the investigation is complete, and they are still working diligently on a full analysis of the ride. However, no timeline was given as to the future plans for the Orlando FreeFall ride or when it may reopen.
"We have to do something about the Slingshot Group," Senator Bracy said. "I have been in constant communication with the commissioner to shut down this company and to make sure that not only the FreeFall ride doesn't open, but no other ride that they have opens."
Bracy accused the Slingshot Group of being negligent "for years," stating that there have been three people who have allegedly died in connection to a ride by the Slingshot Group.
"Tyre Sampson is not the first person who has died from the Slingshot Group's rides. That is something to be aware of," Bracy said, referencing two deaths in 2011 and 2020, according to a family lawsuit.
"The lawsuits and the investigations will determine if any of these precautions could have prevented it. I am not in a position to make that ultimate determination that’s going to potentially be a jury."
It was nearly three months ago when Sampson plunged to his death while riding the Orlando FreeFall, which has been closed ever since. State leaders want to hear the public's opinion on the future of the 430-foot drop tower ride and the Orlando Slingshot, which is run by the same company.
The press conference happened just two days after the Slingshot Group announced that they hoped to reopen the Orlando Slingshot attraction. Slingshot Group, which owns both the Orlando FreeFall and Orlando Slingshot, said it intends to reopen its slingshot-style ride once it receives state approvals.
The Orlando FreeFall remains closed indefinitely.
An autopsy said Tyre was almost 100 pounds over the rides weight limit and a state investigation found ride operators made manual adjustments to seat him. Tyre's dad, Yarnell Sampson, was just in Orlando for Father's Day saying he wanted the ride shutdown for good.
State Senator Bracy said he doesn’t want to see it reopen either.
"Under no circumstances. This company has shown themselves to be negligent when it comes to the safety of people," Bracy said.
In the statement by the Slingshot Group on Monday, they said the safety of their riders was their top priority.