11-year-old boy dead, 3 injured after raft overturns on water ride at amusement park

Adventureland Park

(ALTOONA, Iowa) — A boy is dead and another child is in critical condition after a raft overturned on a water ride at an amusement park.

The accident occurred at 7:35 p.m. local time on Saturday at Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa, when a boat on the Raging River ride overturned with six riders on it, according to a statement from the amusement park.

Three of the passengers were rushed to hospitals in critical condition while a fourth passenger suffered minor injuries, the Altoona Police Department said in a statement.

Eleven-year-old Michael Jaramillo died on Sunday as a result of his injuries, police said. Another juvenile was still in critical condition as of Monday afternoon, according to the police.

“Altoona Fire and Police were on the property and responded immediately,” Adventureland Park in its initial statement on Saturday night. “We want to thank them as well as Des Moines, Ankeny, Bondurant, Pleasant Hill and Delaware Township Emergency Services for their fast response … Our thoughts are with the affected families at this time.”

Adventureland Park said the ride had been inspected the day before and “was found to be in good working order” at the time of the accident. The Raging River ride will remain closed for more inspection.

The park released a second statement on Sunday night about the death of an injured rider.

“Adventureland is saddened to learn of the passing of one Guest involved in the Raging River accident on the evening of 7/3/21,” the statement said. “This investigation is ongoing and the ride remains closed. 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.”

This is reportedly not the first fatal accident to have taken place in connection with the Raging River ride at Adventureland Park.

According to the Des Moines Register, 68-year-old Adventureland Park employee Steve Booher died in 2016 while working on the ride. He was helping riders get out of the rafts at the end of the ride and fell onto the conveyor belt, suffering a fractured skull along with a major brain injury, the paper reported. Booher died four days later.

Iowa’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration subsequently fined the theme park $4,500, according to the Des Moines Register — the maximum the agency could assess for that type of violation.

An investigation into Saturday’s incident is ongoing and the ride will remain closed during that time.


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