ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried provided an update Monday on the ongoing investigation into the tragic Orlando thrill ride death of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson.
Fried began the press conference with new information that came from the hiring of a forensic engineer to assist with the investigation of the Orlando drop tower death.
The report revealed that an operator of the drop tower made manual adjustments to the seat that Sampson sat in, "resulting in it being unsafe."
"This report confirmed that manual adjustments had been made to the sensor [of] the seat in question that allowed the harness-to-restraint opening to be almost double that of the normal restraint opening range," Fried read before news outlets.
The improper adjustments allowed the safety lights to illuminate, Fried said, which allowed the ride to operate, although Sampson was not properly secured in his seat.
The report mentions other potential contributing factors that may have played a role in the incident. For now, the investigation is ongoing, Fried said. And the drop tower will remain closed indefinitely.
Fried was also joined by FDACS Director Rick Kimsey and Rep. Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando).
Thompson said the thrill rides at the park undergo routine inspection and as the adjustments were made to the park, an inspection should have followed. The investigation continues to understand when inspections were conducted.
Thompson also said she is working on a "Tyre Sampson" bill to prevent this from happening to another person.
Sampson was visiting from out of state when he traveled to Orlando's ICON Park, the Orange County Sheriff's Office reports.
A lawyer representing Sampson's family says the teen stood 6-feet, 5-inches tall, and weighed more than 300 pounds. In the thrill ride's operations and maintenance manual — to which it must adhere — the "maximum passenger weight" and size restrictions are outlined as being 130kg which equates to roughly 287 pounds.
Attorney Trevor Arnold, who represents the Slingshot Group that operated the ride, said the organization has fully-cooperated with the state investigation and will continue to do so.
"All protocols, procedures and safety measures provided to us by the manufacturer of the ride were followed," Arnold wrote in a statement. "Today’s report suggests a full review of the ride’s design, safety, operation, restraint mechanisms and history – which of course we welcome. We look forward to working with the Florida legislature to implement change in the industry, as the safety of our patrons is always our top priority.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.