Michael Jaramillo Iowa Adventureland death at Altoona Raging Waters. Does a water theme park bear culpability? History of prior offenses.
Does an Iowa amusement park bear culpability for the death of an 11 year old boy after a raft the boy and his family were riding on overturned trapping them by their seatbelts?
The parents of an 11 year old boy who died at an Iowa water theme park over the weekend after a raft the boy and his family were riding overturned, trapping them underwater by their seatbelts, have spoken out about the Raging River ride that cost their son his life.
Michael Jaramillo was in the raft with his older brother David, father David and mother, at the Adventureland water park in Altoona, Iowa.
The raft flipped while all four were buckled in. The boys tried to save one another in the fast moving current but couldn’t, their father said on Tuesday. David, the older boy, remains in the hospital in a critical condition.
David and Sabrina Jaramillo had taken their family to the Altoona amusement park on Saturday to celebrate their eldest son’s birthday, hoping to ‘have a good time,’ only for a tragic accident on a water ride left one of their children dead and another in a medically induced coma.
Adventureland insist their rides are safe – but are they?
In an interview with Good Morning America on Tuesday, the boys’ parents told how they all struggled to unclip their seatbelts when the ride capsized.
‘When it flipped over, all of us were trapped in seats and seatbelts. I see the silhouettes of my sons trying to grab each other, grab us. They wanted us to help them but we couldn’t do it,’ David, whose arm was in a sling, said.
‘I feel like Adventureland robbed me of my baby. I wont ever get a chance to see him grow up,’ the boy’s mother Sabrina sobbed.
‘I will never get a chance to see him grow up or get a chance to see him graduate,’ Sabrina Jaramillo added.
Adventureland has since responded, insisting that the ride is safe and that it was inspected the day before the incident.
‘The Raging River ride has been in operation for nearly four decades. It is a safe ride… the ride was inspected by the State of Iowa the day before the incident and was in good working order,’ attorney Guy R. Cook of the Grefe Sidney Law Firm said according to ABCNews.
However in 2016, a 68-year-old park worker died trying to get people onto their raft at the same ride.
WATCH: “That could’ve been my kids.” How heartbreaking — Dee Sabic’s children rode the ‘Raging River’ at Adventureland Park right before the accident that killed 11-year-old Michael Jaramillo. Altoona PD says one juvenile is still in critical condition. @weareiowa5news pic.twitter.com/gR8f0JyqFy
— Eva Andersen – Local 5 News (@EvainIowa) July 5, 2021
Steve Booher was helping people get on the ride when the underwater conveyor belt that creates the gushing torrents started moving unexpectedly and pulled him off his feet.
He became wedged between the belt and a wall and his head was crushed against the wall repeatedly before the ride could be turned off.
An autopsy found his cause of death was trauma to the brain.
His wife later sued the park and was awarded an undisclosed settlement.
The ride was allowed to keep operating, despite the tragedy.
The 2016 episode led to the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration fining Adventureland Park $4,500 for a safety violation, saying the park should install devices to ensure that ride assistants are positioned safely before operators let rafts advance, according to The Associated Press.
Police continue to investigate
In a Facebook post about the most recent accident, the park said on Saturday: ‘The ride had been inspected on 7/2/21 and was found to be in sound working order.
‘It will remain closed for a thorough inspection.
‘Our thoughts are with the affected families at this time.’
The Altoona Police Department is now investigating the incident. The park is referring all inquiries to them.
In a statement, the police department said: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jaramillo family as they navigate the heartbreaking loss of their child.’
Altoona police officers and firefighters arrived at the scene around 7.30pm Saturday night, and worked with witnesses to try to help free the passengers.
‘Adventureland is saddened to learn of the passing of one guest involved in the Raging River accident on the evening of 7/3/21,’ officials posted on Facebook Sunday night.
‘This investigation is ongoing and the ride remains closed,’ the statement continued.
‘Adventureland is working closely with both the state and local authorities, and would like to thank them again for their efforts.
‘At this time, we ask for your thoughts and prayers for the guest and their family, as well as for our team members who were onsite.’