Yarnell Sampson found out about his 14-year-old son’s death after watching an online video on Facebook. The father said he was shocked to see his son, Tyre Sampson, die. He is now fighting for answers about the tragic death.
“It felt like somebody hit me so hard in my stomach. I just lost, I lost, lost wind. And the pain behind it could never be taken away — and sorry’s not gonna take it back and no monies, no nothing in the world to replace the young man. And it’s just sad, a young man’s bright future was taken away from him over a ride, an amusement park,” Yarnell Sampson said.
The Missouri father added that he wished he would have been there during his son’s last moments.
“I wish I was there to tell him I love him. That I’m sorry. For him to lose his life. So young, and I wish it was me. I want to know what happened to my son. I want to know why my son is in a white bag, having to get shipped back home. He walked there. Why he can’t walk back? I want answers from everybody. Who all was involved in that?,” Yarnell Sampson said.
According to reports, Tyre Sampson died after slipping out of an amusement park harness and falling 430 feet to the ground. The 14-year-old later died at a local hospital. The teen was visiting ICON Park in Florida on a school trip for Spring Break.
Tyre Sampson’s family is working with personal injury attorney Ben Crump and is trying to get the ride permanently shut down. Crump released a statement and said, “This young man was the kind of son every parent hopes for – an honor roll student, an aspiring athlete, and a kind-hearted person who cared about others. Needless to say, his family is absolutely devastated. A fun theme park visit with his football team should not have ended in tragedy.”
The Missouri father spoke to News 4 and described his son as a “gentle giant,” and a “big teddy bear.” He said his son was in 8th grade at Career Academy and had straight As. He lived in Berkeley, Mo. and was thinking about attending East St. Louis High School next year and playing for their football team.
The ICON Park free fall ride where the 14-year-old died is currently closed. Orange County Sheriff’s Office have not released any new information about the investigation and, according to reports, the amusement park ride is being investigated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
According to police, the fatal fall happened last Thursday around 11 p.m. Witnesses started freaking out and other riders started screaming to let them out of the amusement park ride after Tyre plummeted to the ground. Tyre reportedly told a friend that he felt unsafe and that he needed to tell his mom and dad that he loved them.
Yarnell Sampson said, “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?’ And that’s when he started freaking out.”
Yarnell Sampson added that he told his friend, “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.”
Police continue to investigate the fatal death and are trying to figure out what happened. According to reports, no charges have been filed.