Teen who fell to his death from theme park ride was high school sports star

A young boy who tragically died in a freak theme park accident has been identified as his family pay tribute to the "gentle giant."

Tyre Sampson, 14, from Missouri, USA, slipped out of his seat on the Free Fall ride and fell to his death in Florida on Thursday ( March 24).

Emergency services rushed to the scene at the Orlando, Florida ICON Park after he plummeted from the roller coaster at around 11pm.

The teen was on vacation with his friend's family when the ride dropped at 75mph at the popular attraction. He later died from his injuries in hospital.

Tyre was pictured with his harness undone and not pulled down to fasten into his seat before the ride launched into the air, reports Daily Mail.

It remains unknown as to whether the harness was completely shut before the ride began or if the tour operator examined beforehand to see if he was safely strapped in.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina confirmed that an investigation into the attraction is underway as he addressed the tragedy during a press conference.

"It appears to be just a terrible tragedy," he said on Friday. "We will see moving forward what that results in."

It has been reported that moments before the ride launched, Tyre and the rest of the group were informed that there was no seatbelts.

The only way to prevent them from dropping out of their seats were plastic pull-down harnesses which are meant to buckle into position.

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According to the theme park's website, the ride is the tallest free-standing drop tower in the world. The ride works by rotating riders around a tower as they are lifted high into the air.

Terrifying footage filmed Tyre as he tragically fell to the ground, with park-goers screaming as they watched on in horror.

A video shows another theme park worker dashing over to the ride operator to question whether safety checks were conducted.

He reassured her that he had which prompted her to ask again.

Following the unexpected death, Tyre's family paid an emotional tribute to the 14-year-old online.

His step-mother Wendy said he was a "respectful gentle giant"

"You will be truly missed son," she commented.

This is the second accident to take place at the attraction in two years after a staff member tragically died while working on the StarFlyer ride in 2020.

ICON Park on International Drive is yet to issue a statement on the tragedy.

The roller coaster is owned and run by The SlingShot Group.

"We operate the ride with all the safety precautions in mind. Everything is in place," the CEO told WESH 2.

"And this is why we're doing this investigation. We are working with those people investigating at this point."

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