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Dollywood temporarily closes ride after deadly Florida accident

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dollywood officials have temporarily closed a ride at the Pigeon Forge theme park as a precaution after a teen died last week on a similar ride in Orlando, Florida.

A Dollywood spokesman said their ride, named Drop Line, was made by the same manufacturer as the
Orlando Free Fall at Orlando’s ICON Park. Dollywood has closed the ride “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a statement released by the park.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the heartbreaking accident at ICON Park in Orlando, Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this unimaginably difficult time,” officials for Dollywood said.

“Although Dollywood does not have the specific ride involved in this tragic incident, the safety of our guests is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, and until further details about the accident at ICON Park are known, we have temporarily closed Drop Line, our drop tower ride that was developed by the same manufacturer.”

A representative for Dollywood confirmed the ride was still closed as of Tuesday morning. It was unclear when the ride would reopen.

Last week, 14-year-old Tyre Sampson died after falling from the Orlando Free Fall at ICON Park. A representative for the company that owns and operates the ride told Nexstar’s WFLA that “everything was functioning properly” when the ride began.

“What we don’t know is what happened after that,” said John Stine, director of sales and marketing for the Slingshot Group of Companies.

Documents obtained by the WFLA this week also suggest the teen may have exceeded the ride’s weight restrictions.

Sampson’s family has retained two attorneys, including Ben Crump, following the tragic incident.

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