ORLANDO, Fla. - Operators of the Orlando FreeFall drop tower ride at ICON Park announced earlier this month that it would be tearing down the ride following the death of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson in March. Officials have now said the timeline depends on when the investigation is complete.
In an email to FOX 35, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said that "there are ongoing investigations into this tragedy" and that the tower will not be taken down until the investigations are complete.
Sampson died on March 24 after plunging to his death while riding the Orlando FreeFall drop tower ride. Video of the incident was shared widely on social media. The teen was visiting Orlando on Spring Break with another family from St. Louis, Missouri. The ride has been closed ever since Tyre's death.
An autopsy said Tyre was almost 100 pounds over the rides weight limit and a state investigation found ride operators made manual adjustments to seat him. The autopsy, which was conducted by the Orange County Medical Examiner, concluded that the boy's cause of death was the result of blunt force trauma and the manner of death was "accident."
In May, a petition was launched to turn the site into a memorial for Sampson, which garnered thousands of signatures.
In a statement, CEO of Orlando Slingshot Ritchie Armstrong said the company decided to take down the 430-foot drop tower ride to respect Sampson's family's wishes, as well as public outcry over the boy's death.
Tyre Sampson, 14, is pictured in a provided family photo.
"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," Armstrong's statement read. "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."
Tyre's father, Yarnell, called the decision a victory for his son.
"I left it in God’s hands. It’s not a victory for me, it’s a victory for him because he used me as a vessel," he told FOX 35. "I’m just finally glad they’re coming to their senses and said you know what, let’s get rid of this thing. Let’s start over, come up with a better plan."
In August, Tyre's family came together at ICON Park to celebrate his life on what would have been his 15th birthday.