Prevent Amusement Park Tragedies Following Teenager’s Fall to Death

Target: Richard Blumenthal, Chair of Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security

Goal: Reinstate federal consumer protections related to amusement park rides.

A fun night out transformed into a horrific tragedy when a 14-year-old boy fell hundreds of feet from an Orlando amusement park ride. The boy, Tyre Sampson, later died from his injuries. What went so tragically wrong?

The incident took place at an ICON Park free-fall drop tower, where up to 30 riders are taken 430 feet in the air before the ride plummets to the ground. An investigation is ongoing, but certain factors signal a problem might have been imminent. For one, the boy reportedly expressed worry to his friend as they ascended that he would not make it off the ride. Some technicians have also indicated that while the riders were put in safety harnesses, an additional piece of safety equipment common on such rides appeared to be absent from this particular attraction. Questions have also arisen about whether qualified employees had done a rigorous safety check of the harnesses. Most troubling of all, this tragedy was not the first fatality associated with ICON Park or the makers of the ride. Two years earlier, a worker fell to his death from a different ride, apparently because of an improperly secured safety harness.

Currently, no federal guidelines exist to protect consumers from the potentially fatal dangers posed by amusement park rides. Six states do not even regulate the parks at all. Sign the petition below to urge a national standard that will properly hold amusement parks and ride owners to account.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Blumenthal,

Fourteen-year-old Tyre Sampson tragically became the latest in the 1,290-plus amusement park accident victims that are harmed annually. Tragically, for this boy the accident cost him his life. Clear warning signs seemingly presented themselves, including the potential omission of critical safety equipment and the alleged absence of an in-depth harness check. This horrible tragedy might have been prevented if due diligence was paid by the park itself and the group that created the ride (a group associated with a similar, earlier fatality at the same park).

Currently, amusement park safety regulations are a mish-mash of guidelines left to state and local jurisdictions. In fact, six states have no guidelines at all. Settlements and gag orders should no longer pass for accountability. Advocates have long called for federal safety and inspection standards for this industry to be once again led by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

The commission is supposed to safeguard consumers from products that can cause unreasonable risk of harm. Please let this tragedy be the motivation for a long-awaited reversal of Congress’ earlier error in stripping amusement park regulatory safety from this commission. Do not let another child die in vain.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Clarers


One Comment

  1. Evan Jane Kriss says:

    This is criminal negligence on the part of the ride operators, and they must be held accountable for the wrongful death of this poor boy. SHUT THEM DOWN NOW.

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