The parents of a 14-year-old boy watched in horror from the ground as their son plummeted to his death after falling from the tallest drop tower amusement park ride in the world on Thursday night.
The horrific accident took place at Free Fall ride at the ICON Amusement Park in Orlando. The ride, which opened in December, has a capacity for 30 thrill-seekers who spiral around a pole as the ride climbs more than 400 feet before first maneuvering the passengers to face the ground and then plummeting down at around 75 miles per hour, according to the ICON website. When it opened, it was billed as the “tallest free-standing drop tower in the world.”
The teenager’s shocking death was captured on various cellphone cameras of people who were on the ride and those on the ground—several of them posted it on social media. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office, which responded to the incident, is investigating whether the young victim met the height requirement and whether he was properly strapped in. Video shows him slipping from his seat as the ride raced downward.
“At first we thought it was a piece of the ride or whatever until we got a little closer and it was a person laying on the ground,” a park attendee named Montrey Williams told a local Fox news affiliate. “Everyone was just panicking and screaming.”
The director of the public-relations group for the park said safety was always a priority. “We operate the ride with all the safety precautions in mind,” John Stinet old FOX 35 News. “Everything is in place and this is why we are doing this investigation.”
The ride has been closed while the death is investigated, but the amusement park remains open.