Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried Aims to Improve Amusement Park Safety After Icon Park Death | Orlando Area News | Orlando

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Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried released a legislative ‘framework’ on Wednesday that she says would improve ride safety, after a Missouri teenager died in a fall from a tower-style ride in Orlando .

Tire Sampson, 14, fell from a 430-foot drop tower on March 24 at ICON Park in Orlando. The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulates these rides.

“When accidents happen, it’s often because many small problems are happening at the same time to create a perfect storm. Our goal here was to identify the issues that caused this perfect storm in Tire’s case and work to prevent them from happening again,” Fried said in a statement.

Among the legislative changes Fried proposed are stricter reporting requirements to document amusement ride maintenance and create a minimum standard within the Department of Agriculture for training amusement ride operators. Fried also suggests adding a requirement to prevent the setting of devices such as security sensors.

A report released by the department in April said the Missouri teenager’s death occurred after manual adjustments were made to sensors on two of the ride’s seats. The modification was made to allow seat safety harnesses to stay open more than intended by the manufacturer, an investigation found. An investigation is underway.

“I think it’s important that we address this through legislation as soon as possible. It is a horrible tragedy. I also think we should name this bill after Tire Sampson, to honor his memory, but also to remind ourselves that this should never happen again,” said Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Ocoee, in a statement Wednesday.

Harold B. McConnell