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Orlando ride to be taken down after Tyre Sampson's death

Tyre Sampson, 14, fell to his death from the Orlando FreeFall ride in March.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Months after St. Louis County teenager Tyre Sampson fell to his death from an Orlando thrill ride, the company that operates the attraction has announced it will be torn down.

Orlando Slingshot said in a Thursday statement that it will take down the 400-foot-tall Orlando FreeFall ride at ICON Park. 

Sampson, 14, was on spring break at the time of the March 24 accident. He slipped from his seat about halfway down the ride and fell to the ground below.

“We are devastated by Tyre’s death. We have listened to the wishes of Tyre’s family and the community, and have made the decision to take down the FreeFall,” said Orlando Slingshot's Ritchie Armstrong in the statement announcing the ride's closure. “In addition, Orlando Slingshot will honor Tyre and his legacy in the classroom and on the football field by creating a scholarship in his name.”

The timeline for taking the ride down "will be determined by the approvals of all involved parties and regulatory entities," Orlando Slingshot said.

ICON Park said in a statement that it supported the decision to have the ride taken down.

"Tyre’s death is a tragedy that we will never forget. As the landlord, ICON Park welcomes and appreciates Orlando Slingshot’s decision to take down the ride,” the park said.

In reaction to the news, his father Yarnell Sampson released a statement through his attorneys Ben Crump and Bob Hilliard:

“While this announcement is long overdue, the news today is a relief to Tyre Sampson’s grieving father, who has been advocating for this since the day Tyre fell to his death. The Orlando Free Fall ride never should have been permitted to operate under those faulty conditions. Theme parks, their parent companies, and regulatory agencies must do better to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening to any other family.”

His mother Nekia Dodd also shared comments with her attorney Michael Haggard. 

"With the grief she's endured and continues to endure, there's no such thing as happy but almost a little bit of closure. A little bit of accomplishment that this is gone, it's not going to exist on what killed her baby boy," Haggard says. 

Haggard says the number one priority for the family was to get the ride taken down.

RELATED: Parents vow to fight for changes after son’s fatal fall from Florida thrill ride

Tyre's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against multiple businesses in April, claiming they failed to safely operate the ride, failed to warn Sampson of the proper height and weight safety restrictions and failed to properly train employees. The suit also claims they failed to provide appropriate restraint systems and negligently allowed Sampson to board the ride despite being over the weight limit.

The autopsy showed that Sampson weighed 383 pounds when he died. The weight limit for the ride was 287.

Aug. 17 would have been Sampson's 15th birthday. His family said he was looking forward to playing football for the East St. Louis Flyers this fall. 

RELATED: Family of teen who died from Orlando ride honors his 15th birthday, shares developments

What's next

Haggard says the ride should be taken down in the next couple of weeks.

Plus, he says the lawsuit continues. 

"We’re discovering documents every day on who’s involved, how those seats changed, who was there, we learned a lot and hope to try the case next year and hopefully result in legislation federally that will make these rides safe," he says.

Haggard explains they are pushing for a federal law so no other family has to go through this.

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