The 14-year-old boy who fell to his death from an Orlando amusement park ride asked the friend strapped in next to him to tell his parents he loved them in case “I don’t make it down,” according to his devastated father.
Yarnell Samson said his son Tyre felt unsafe as soon as the “Orlando Free-Fall” ride at ICON Park began going up.
“When the ride took off, that’s when he was feeling uncomfortable. He was like ‘this thing is moving,’ you know what I’m saying. And he was like ‘what’s going on?’” Samson told Fox 35.
“And that’s when he started freaking out,” the dad continued.
The teen then told the friend beside him: “If I don’t make it down tell … Please tell my mama and daddy I love them.”
“For him to say something like that, he must have felt something,” Samson told the outlet.
His son tragically plummeted from the ride when it was about halfway down its 430-foot descent on Thursday. He died after being rushed to a local hospital.
The heartbroken dad is demanding to know why his 6-foot-5, 340-pound son was even allowed on the ride after he was stopped from getting on others due to his size.
“This one particular ride decided, ‘yeah, we’re gonna take you, come on, get on,’ when nobody else allowed him to get on the rides,” Samson told the Orlando station.
“So I wanna know what happened between now and then that made them say, ‘come on, you can get on this ride,” he added.
Tyre was on the attraction with two of his best friends. The boys had traveled to Orlando from Missouri.
An honor roll student and football player, Samson said his son had hopes of playing in the NFL.
“This should never happen to nobody else’s child ever again,” he said. “And if I have something to do with it, it never will ever again.”
The “Orlando Free Fall” had just opened at the end of December. Standing at 430 feet, it boasts itself as the world’s tallest free-standing drop tower, according to the park’s website. The ride holds 30 passengers as it ascends, rotates around the tower and then tilts to face the ground before free falling at more than 75 miles per hour.
The attraction has over-the shoulder restraint harnesses, with two hand grips at the chest level, that riders pull down and are released automatically at the end of the ride.
An inspector on Friday could be seen sitting in a ride seat with the security harness over his shoulders as another inspector took measurements.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said the tragedy does not appear to be an intentional act. An investigation is ongoing.
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