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Dollywood is closing its drop tower ride over safety concerns following the death of Tire Sampson, 14, at Orlando’s ICON Park

DOLLYWOOD in Tennessee has announced it is temporarily closing its freefall ride following the death of 14-year-old Tire Simpson on a similar ride.

The theme park, partially owned by Dolly Parton, is taking the urgent step to close its Drop Line attraction ride, which is made by the same manufacturer as the free-fall ride at Orlando’s ICON Park.

Dollywood has temporarily closed its 230-foot Drop Line ride in Tennessee

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Dollywood has temporarily closed its 230-foot Drop Line ride in TennesseePhoto credit: Getty – Contributor
Tire Simpson, 14, fell to his death at ICON Park in Orlando, Florida

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Tire Simpson, 14, fell to his death at ICON Park in Orlando, FloridaPhoto credit: The Mega Agency

Last week, Tire Sampson fell to his death from the Free Fall ride, an attraction that claims to be the tallest free-standing drop tower in the world at 430 feet.

“Although Dollywood does not have the specific cruise involved in this tragic incident, the safety of our guests is our top priority,” said a Dollywood spokesman.

“Pending further details about the accident at ICON Park, we have temporarily closed Drop Line, our drop tower ride developed by the same manufacturer,” the spokesperson added.

The Drop Line ride is a 20-story attraction that drops adrenaline seekers “in the blink of an eye.”

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According to the amusement park, riders tumble back to the ground “in a thrilling frenzy of excitement.”

Drop Line accelerates to 78mph and gives adventure seekers a rush of 3.2G for nearly three seconds of free fall. The park says the ride “uses magnetic brakes to bring the ride to a quick but smooth stop.”

There is no confirmed date for the Dollywood ride to reopen.

Investigators are investigating whether the Orlando incident was accidental or intentional. Orange County Sheriff John Mina told local media that “it appears to be a terrible tragedy.”

A chilling video shot before the tragic incident seems to show that Tire’s harness wasn’t strapped on properly.

The teenager was seen sitting on the ride with his harness seemingly unbuckled and slung over his shoulders.

In an interview with CNN, the head of sales and marketing for the Orlando Free Fall ride said the company was devastated by Simpson’s death and was focused on finding out what happened.

The Orlando drive remains closed pending the ongoing investigation. The ride was reportedly last inspected in December.

The 430 foot Orlando Free Fall Ride at Icon Park, Florida

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The 430 foot Orlando Free Fall Ride at Icon Park, FloridaPhoto credit: Splash

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https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/18094159/dollywood-closes-drop-tower-ride-icon-park/ Dollywood is closing its drop tower ride over safety concerns following the death of Tire Sampson, 14, at Orlando’s ICON Park

Bobby Allyn

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