ORLANDO, Fla. – After 14-year-old Tyre Sampson fell to his death while riding Orlando FreeFall, a massive statewide investigation began.
Early on in the investigation, reporters were provided one-page documents that showed training certifications for two employees who were working the night of Sampson’s death.
News 6 is not identifying the employees since no one has been criminally charged, but we have now learned these documents were signed and dated the night of Tyre’s death in March, not in February as the dates on the document suggest.
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The revelation comes from Orlando FreeFall’s general manager who told investigators during his testimony that he realized the training documents had been doctored because one of the employees was not even working for him when the training on the document allegedly occurred.
“When I looked at his employee training record it didn’t look accurate,” the general manager testified. “The sign-off date didn’t reconcile with his employment date.”
While the general manager was not sure who doctored the records, any fraud is in direct violation of state regulations which require proper record keeping of employee training.
Aside from these two doctored records, the general manager testified all other training records are currently missing for his employees.
“I believe the training has been completed, but I do not know where the training records are or if they exist,” he told investigators, during his deposition.
Additionally, the general manager testified that records showing daily inspections of the ride had also been doctored after Tyre’s death.
The giveaway? He said the same employee signed off on daily ride inspections when he was not working.
“The daily inspection form looked odd to me,” the general manager estified during his deposition. “I assumed that he had not worked every day and then cross-referenced that and he hadn’t worked every day. So that, to me, looked – didn’t look right. I was, you know, I know he spent a lot of time at the ride, but it seemed odd that he was there every day.”
The general manager told attorneys that he brought the discrepancies to the attention of his attorney and state regulators after discovering the false records.
In his testimony, the General Manager also identified two employees he believes were responsible for seat adjustments to the ride which allowed larger people to strap into a harness, despite safety precautions inside the operation manual.
Investigators found that Sampson was directed to sit in one of those adjusted seats, Seat No. 1, the night he died.
During the investigations, employees told investigators they were trained to put larger people into the adjusted seats so that they could ride the drop tower ride, despite weight or safety concerns.
The state’s findings have been forwarded to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for their review to see if any criminal charges are warranted.
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