The juvenile, 14, fell from the “Orlando Free-Fall” ride at ICON Park approximately halfway down its 400-foot descent; the ride – which secures its passengers in harnesses in a circular row of seats, and ascends and then drops with incredible speed – came to a sudden halt about 200 feet from the ground, dislodging the boy from his seat and causing him to hit the cement below with a sickening thud.
Shell-shocked people observing the horrific incident can be heard on the video, screaming “Oh my God!” and “Call an ambulance!” as his motionless body lies next to a metal fence around the ride. Guests still on the ride – once it finished lowering to the ground – begin yelling for attendants to unhook them from their harnesses so they can depart from the scene.
One woman – who may or may not have been a park employee – is seen asking attendants if they had made sure that victims harness was properly secured before activating the ride.
“Are you sure you checked him?” she asked several times.
The victim was taken to a local area hospital where he died, reports say.
The “Orlando Free-Fall” – touted as the world’s tallest drop tower ride – stands 430 feet tall and drops its riders at a rate of 75 miles per hour. Originally opened in 2021, the ride holds up to 30 people.
The middle-school football player from Missouri was visiting family in Florida at the time of his death; the young man already 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed over 300 pounds, despite being only 14 years old.
The mother has hired a lawyer for a potential lawsuit against the park; Texas attorney Bob Hilliard raised questions during an interview on Saturday regarding park negligence relating to the boys large size – in addition to other factors – that may have played a role in the teen’s death.
“This young man, he was athletic and he was big. He had no way of knowing,” said Texas attorney Bob Hilliard. “This is going to be an issue of a lack of supervision and lack of training. A straight-up negligence case.”
Civil-rights attorney Ben Crump – who represents the father, said on Saturday that the family is “shocked and heartbroken.”
“This young man was the kind of son everyone hopes for…an honor roll student, an aspiring athlete, and a kind-hearted person who cared about others,” Crump said.
The family has started a petition, asking that the “Orlando Free-Fall” be permanently taken down in light of Thursday’s tragedy.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – which regulates Florida amusement rides – have stated that an investigation is ongoing.
Editors note: The Published Reporter has decided not to publish the juveniles name.