Sensors have been fitted to the Florida amusement park ride where a teenager died

ORLANDO, Florida. >> Sensors at an amusement park ride in Florida had been manually adjusted to double the size of the opening for the restraints on two seats, which prevented a 14-year-old boy from being properly restrained before to slip and fall. his death, according to an initial report released today by outside engineers.

The average seat restraint opening on the 430-foot free-fall amusement park ride in the heart of Orlando’s tourist district was 3.3 inches. However, the restraint opening for the seat used by Tire Sampson was 7.1 inches, and that of another seat was 6.5 inches, according to the report commissioned by the Florida Department of Agriculture, which is investigating the accident.

Sampson was just 14 but already 6ft 5in tall and weighed well over 300lbs when he slid out of his seat as the vehicle plunged to the ground at speeds of 75mph or more.

An inspection of the seats showed that the sensors used to activate the safety lights on both seats, indicating that the safety harnesses were in place, had been adjusted to allow wider openings. As the ride slowed, Sampson slipped through a gap between the seat and the safety harness, according to the report.

“The cause of the accident in question was that Tire Sampson was not properly secured in the seat, primarily due to improper adjustment of the harness proximity sensors,” the report from Quest Engineering and Failure Analysis, Inc. .

The Orlando Free Fall ride, which is taller than the Statue of Liberty, experienced no electrical or mechanical failures, according to the report.

The release of the report marks the initial phase of the investigation into the teenager’s death, and “we are far from finished,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried told a news conference in Orlando .

The report said there were many other “potential contributions” to the crash and that a full review of the ride’s design and operations was needed.

Harold B. McConnell