In March 2022, 14-year-old amusement park visitor
About the ICON Park accident
On the day of his death, Tyre rode the Orlando FreeFall ride, which is the tallest freestanding drop tower in the world. Riders ascend to the top, and the ride drops them 400 feet at speeds that exceed 75 mph.
Tyre, who weighed about 380 pounds, was lovingly called a “gentle giant” by his friends because of his size. During the ride, Tyre slipped from the harness and suffered a horrific fall as bystanders watched.
What went wrong?
The lawsuit filed by Tyre’s family states that there were several safety issues in the park that put visitors in danger, and they’re suing multiple defendants for the deficiencies.
According to the lawsuit, a manual misadjustment of a harness sensor, presumably made to accommodate larger riders, was a major contributing factor.
A park representative stated that employees followed safety protocols from the ride’s manufacturer. However, an attorney working on the lawsuit analyzed the manufacturer’s manual and found that there was a weight limit of 287 pounds.
According to the lawsuit, the park did not post any weight limit warnings and did not have a scale to ensure riders met the requirement. Tyre was about 100 pounds heavier than the maximum weight for that ride.
Additionally, the lawsuit claims that prior to Tyre falling, other riders had complained about the seat Tyre had been sitting in, and the park failed to address or fix the issue. Previous riders reported that the seat seemed loose and tilted, and the manufacturer said that the seat was not designed to tilt.
The lawsuit also states that the simple addition of seat belts, which would have only cost around $22 per seat, could have made the ride much safer.
How common are amusement park accidents?
While some amusement park ride accidents are caused by manufacturer defects, many others could be prevented if general ride safety protocols were followed.
According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 10,500 emergency room-treated injuries associated with amusement rides in the U.S. in 2000 alone.
Many experts estimate that more than 30,000 injuries occur due to accidents on amusement park rides every year. Despite these alarming numbers, fatal accidents are rare, with fewer than 5 deaths typically reported annually.
Safety tips for amusement park visitors
If you’re planning on visiting an amusement park this summer, here are some tips that can reduce your chance of sustaining an injury on a ride:
- Follow all weight, height and health restrictions for rides.
- Keep keys, sunglasses and other loose items secure.
- Read and follow all posted safety rules, and listen carefully to verbal instructions.
- Always use all provided safety equipment.
- Don’t ride while impaired.
- Never exit a ride until it stops.
- Parents who take children on rides should ensure that children are secured properly and understand all safety rules.