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THE mother of a teen who fell to his death from a 400ft amusement park ride has visited the now-defunct attraction for the first time.
Nekia Dodd’s son Tyre Sampson, 14, was on spring break in March 2022 when he fell at ICON Park in Orlando, Florida.
He ended up slipping out of his seat on the park’s FreeFall ride and plummeted to the ground where he died from blunt force trauma.
Dodd came to visit the site for the first time on Wednesday, almost a year after Tyre’s death, with the goal of honoring her child’s memory.
“My son took his last breath on this ride, so it’s heartbreaking, it’s devastating,” the mother told Click Orlando at a press conference.
“It’s a feeling I hope no parent will ever have to go through after this ride comes down.”
The attraction is being dismantled in the wake of several lawsuits filed by Tyre’s family members.
While Dodd was visiting, her attorney Michael Haggard announced she had reached a settlement with ICON Park and Slingshot Group, the company that owned the ride itself.
Tyre’s father Yarnell Sampson has filed a similar lawsuit.
Haggard said the mother is still in the process of suing Funtime Thrill Rides, the contraption’s manufacturer which is based in Austria.
Dodd has also been supportive of a bill named after her son making its way through the Florida state legislature.
The proposed law would require seat belts on amusement park rides higher than 100ft along with other new safety measures.
In a statement provided to Click Orlando, ICON Park said it’s been supportive of the pending legislation.
“We agree with the goal to ensure extra diligence and oversight with mid- to small-attraction operators for ride training, testing and process documentation, which we also focus on in our own rigorous ride safety protocols,” the statement said.
The company added that it approves of the decision to take the contraption apart.
“While the FreeFall ride is not owned and was not controlled or operated by ICON Park, because it is a tenant on the property, we agree with the owner’s decision to dismantle the ride and our hearts are with the family as they witness this important milestone.”
ICON Park did not immediately respond to the U.S. Sun’s request for further comment.
Mom of teen killed in 400ft FreeFall amusement park horror speaks out as she visits tragic scene for first time
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