Teen on life support after deadly Iowa water ride accident

Visitors arrive at the Adventureland Park amusement park, Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Altoona,...
Visitors arrive at the Adventureland Park amusement park, Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Altoona, Iowa. The father of an 11-year-old boy who died following an accident on the popular boat ride at the park said that his son and other family members were trapped by the ride's seat belts when the boat carrying them flipped.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 3:44 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A teenager injured in an accident on an Iowa amusement ride that killed his younger brother remains on life support as he marks his 16th birthday.

David Jaramillo has been in a medically induced coma at Blank Children’s Hospital since Saturday’s accident on the Raging River ride at Adventureland Park in Altoona.

Family pastor Christian Shields says Jaramillo has some brain function and has woken up a couple times at the Des Moines hospital, opening his eyes and asking what happened.

Shields, the pastor at Christian Life Church in Cedar Rapids, said it’s a miracle that he is alive after being pinned underneath a boat in the water for several minutes.

On Tuesday, a regulator ordered the park not to restart the ride pending an investigation into the accident.

Iowa Labor Commissioner Rod Roberts signed an order barring Adventureland Park from operating the Raging River until an investigation by his office is complete and all hazards are corrected, a spokeswoman said.

Adventureland voluntarily stopped operating the ride after Saturday night’s accident in which a boat carrying six members of the family flipped over. The park remains open.

Michael Jaramillo, 11 years old, died Sunday from his injuries. Another teenage brother has been released from the hospital.

Their father, David Jaramillo, was also injured. He recounted what happened when the boat capsized in a “Good Morning America” interview broadcast Tuesday.

“When it flipped over, all of us were trapped in the safety seat belts,” he said. “I see the silhouettes of my sons trying to grab each other, grab us. They want us to help them. We couldn’t do it.”

Mother Sabrina Jaramillo added, “I feel like Adventureland robbed me of my baby. I will never get a chance to see him grow up.”

Ryan Best, an attorney for the family, said they were at the park to celebrate David Jr.’s birthday.

“What should have been a fun day for the family turned into a nightmare when the family was the victim of a tragic failure by Adventureland to provide for their safety on the Raging River ride and failure to timely respond during the incident,” he said.

He said the family was focused on David Jr.’s medical care while grieving Michael’s death, and “would ask that you keep them in their prayers.”

The cause of the accident is under investigation but it “does not appear to be criminal in nature,” Altoona police spokeswoman Lt. Alyssa Wilson said.

An Adventureland employee was also killed in an accident involving the ride in 2016.

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