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The 14-year-old boy who fell to his death at an Orlando amusement park asked the friend tied up next to him to tell his parents he loved them in case he “didn’t make it,” according to his devastated father. .
Yarnell Samson said his son Tire felt unsafe as soon as he started riding the “Orlando Free-Fall” ride at ICON Park.
“When he took off the trip, that’s when he felt uncomfortable. He was like ‘this thing is moving’, you know what I’m saying. And he was like ‘what’s going on?’” Samson told Fox 35.
“And that’s when he started freaking out,” the father continued.
The teen then told the friend next to him, “If I don’t make it, tell him… Please tell my mom and dad that I love them.”
“For him to say something like that, he must have felt something,” Samson told the outlet.
His son tragically collapsed Thursday as he was midway down his 430-foot descent. He died after being rushed to a local hospital.
The heartbroken father demands to know why his 6-foot-5, 340-pound son was allowed on the ride after being prevented from others because of his size.
Close up view of the Orlando Free Fall at ICON Park on Friday, March 25, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.
“This particular ride decided, ‘yeah, we’ll take you, come on, hop on,’ when no one else was letting him ride to the games,” Samson told the Orlando station.
“So I want to know what happened between now and then that he made them say, ‘come on, you can get on this ride,'” he added.
Tire was at the attraction with two of his best friends. The boys had traveled to Orlando from Missouri.
Samson, an honor roll student and football player, said his son had hopes of playing in the NFL.
“This should never happen to anyone else’s child again,” he said. “And if I had anything to do with it, I’ll never have it again.”
The “Orlando Free Fall” had just opened in late December. Standing 430 feet tall, it boasts the world’s tallest freestanding drop tower, according to the park’s website. The ride seats 30 passengers as it ascends, loops around the tower, and then tilts to face the ground before free-falling at over 75 miles per hour.
The ride features shoulder harnesses with two chest-high grab handles that riders pull down and automatically release at the end of the ride.
An inspector could be seen Friday sitting in a buggy seat with a safety harness over his shoulders as another inspector took measurements.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said the tragedy does not appear to be intentional. An investigation is ongoing.