Another ride at Orlando’s Icon Park has been temporarily shuttered in the aftermath of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson falling to his death.
The death occurred on the Orlando FreeFall drop tower on March 24, which is operated by the Slingshot Group. In response to public demands by Icon Park, the group agreed Wednesday to suspend operations at its other attraction at the park, the Orlando Slingshot. Both rides had opened in December.
“We are heartbroken by the loss of Tyre Sampson and absolutely devastated for his family and loved ones,” Slingshot Group CEO Ritchie Armstrong said in a statement. “We have suspended the operations of the Free Fall ride and the Slingshot ride at Icon Park. We are fully cooperating with authorities at the state and local levels who are investigating this tragic incident.”
Preliminary safety reports released by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Monday said Sampson came out of his seat when the Orlando Free Fall’s brakes engaged. His safety harness was still down and “in a locked position” when the ride stopped, the report said.
King Island’s Beast beats own world record
The world’s longest wooden roller coaster is getting even longer — well, by two feet.
The Beast at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio has undergone significant refurbishment, including a steeper first drop and new track sections in the helix tunnel and the turn towards the second drop. In all, 2,000 feet of the coaster saw some form of work during the offseason..
In the process, the coaster grew from 7,359 feet to 7,361 feet in length.
“When you have something like that, it’s a national treasure,” Kings Island spokesperson Chad Showalter, told WCPO. “You have to take care of it. And that’s what we are doing in this off-season.”
The Beast opened in 1979. Unlike other coaster records that are frequently broken, it has retained the title of world’s longest wooden coaster since it debuted. In fact, only The Voyage, which debuted at Holiday World in 2006, is within 1,000 feet of its length.
Kings Island opens for the season on April 16, but the new and improved Beast won’t be available until sometime in May.
Universal Orlando raises starting wages for culinary workers
Food and beverage workers at the Universal Orlando Resort will now be paid a starting wage of between $16.50 and $20 per hour, the resort announced Wednesday.
The exact starting pay will depend on the position. Universal said it’s hiring 800 new employees in its culinary team.
Wage increases have become common across the theme park industry as parks struggle to attract hourly employees as they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Six Flags Great Adventure recently raised starting pay for ride operators to $20 per hour on the park’s busiest days.