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A woman claiming to be the cousin of the 14-year-old who died after falling from a ride at an amusement park in Orlando, Florida, says the teenager was denied access to two of the others rides due to its weight. However, the teenager’s family say they do not know the woman and that she is not a cousin.
Tire Sampson, 14, died after falling from the Orlando FreeFall ride at ICON Park on March 24. The ride is 430 feet tall, depending on the attraction.
Shay Johnson, while falsely claiming to be Sampson’s cousin, told Spectrum News 13 at a candlelight vigil on Monday that the teenager was prevented from taking two more rides at the amusement park because of his weight.
“[Tyre] I said ‘I want to ride the seesaw on International’, I said ‘Okay, ride it twice and ride it for me too.’ And he called me back about seven minutes later, he said, “They said I’m too fat, I can’t ride,” Johnson said.
FLORIDA FREEFALL TEENAGE DEATH: SEAT HARNESS STILL LOCKED AFTER HORRIFYING ACCIDENT AT ORLANDO PARK
One of the rides at ICON Park is called “Orlando StarFlyer,” which is described as the “world’s tallest free-standing swing ride,” at 450 feet tall.
“ICON Park has formally notified the owner of the Orlando FreeFall, SlingShot Group, demanding the suspension of not only the operation of Orlando FreeFall but also the operation of Orlando SlingShot, effective immediately, until that authorities prove the attractions are safe,” a statement on the ICON Park website reads.
911 CALLS IN FLORIDA RELEASED AFTER TEEN FALLS FROM ORLANDO RIDE: ‘THEY DIDN’T FASTEN THE SEATBELT’
A user manual for the Orlando FreeFall lists the maximum passenger weight as just over 286 pounds. Sampson was 6-foot-5 and weighed 330 pounds, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Orlando SlingShot, which passed initial inspections by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, opened in late December 2021.
The boy’s father told FOX 35 Orlando that Tire felt uncomfortable at the start of the ride.
“When the ride took off, that’s when he felt uneasy. He was like, ‘This thing is moving.’ … That’s when he started freaking out,” Yarnell Sampson, says FOX 35 Orlando. “He was explaining to his friends next to him…” If I don’t make it…please tell my mom and dad I love them. “For him to say something like that, he must have felt something.”
“We got a little closer and it was a person lying on the ground,” Montrey Williams said. “Everyone was panicking and screaming.”
911 calls released by authorities Monday show a caller claimed Sampson’s seatbelt was not properly fastened.
“Okay, so was he up in the air?” the 911 dispatcher asked.
“No, they didn’t fasten her seatbelt,” the 911 caller said.
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An accident report claims that the seat harness was in the locked position after Tyr fell.
“FreeFall was coming to [sic] at the bottom of the tower. When the magnets engaged, the customer exited the seat,” an employee wrote in the report. “The harness was still in the down and locked position when the ride stopped.”
Fox News’ Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This report has been updated to include new information about the woman accused of impersonating a cousin.