How safe are those attraction rides?


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When we say this is a political podcast, it is not just about the horse race of campaigns. It is about the process of government.

The oversight approach. What government does and how it impacts our lives, and that is where we are this week, talking about government oversight of Florida’s most critical product: attractions and tourism.

There is so much attention on this issue in light of the recent death of 14-year-old Tyre Sampson. He was here in Orlando with friends attending a football camp. Like so many, he was out one night, taking in the sights, sounds, and rides.

On March 24, Sampson fell to his death from the 430-foot-tall Orlando FreeFall attraction located at ICON Park. We should note here ICON Park is essentially the landlord. The attraction is owned and operated by The SlingShot Group. It’s estimated Sampson fell at least 50 feet to his death.

There are questions about how this happened.

  • Did the ride malfunction?
  • Did operators do something wrong?
  • Was Sampson too big for the ride to begin with?

There are state investigations underway, and there are private investigations underway. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried’s office is overseeing the investigation since her agency has oversight of attractions. This is what she said April 1:

“I promise you all and to the families and this community and everybody, based on this investigation, we’ll be working internally if we’ve already gotten authority to make changes and with assistance from legislature to make changes we deem necessary based solely on the investigation.”

And this is where we are diving into the conversation. Ken Martin is a safety analyst and consultant with decades of experience inspecting attractions, investigating accidents, and being at the forefront of making sure the rides we ride are as safe as possible. He talks about all things regarding amusement ride safety on this week’s Beyond the Soundbite.


Ken Martin's Twitter:


Political figures and influencers are often heard in brief bites that don’t capture the context of the whole story. “Central Florida: Beyond the Soundbite” expands the conversation with these newsmakers along the I-4 corridor and beyond. Join award-winning Spectrum News 13 anchor and Orlando Woman of the Year Ybeth Bruzual, political reporter Greg Angel, and veteran producer Gary Darling for a must-hear interview each week and learn about the issues affecting Central Florida.

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