Boy, 11, Dies After Raft Overturns in Iowa Amusement Park
Four people were hospitalized because of the accident on Saturday at Adventureland Park, near Des Moines.
By Johnny Diaz, NY Times
July 5, 2021
A boy was killed and four people were injured after a raft overturned on a water ride in an Iowa amusement park on Saturday, the authorities said. The boy, Michael Jaramillo, 11, died on Sunday from his injuries after the accident at the park, Adventureland Amusement Park in Altoona, about 10 miles northeast of Des Moines, according to Lt. Alyssa Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Altoona Police Department.
At about 7:30 p.m., a raft on the Raging River ride at the park overturned with six passengers, the police said. The ride, which has been in operation at Adventureland since 1983, sends passengers through riverlike rapids on circular rafts.
“First responders and witnesses helped to free the riders and begin lifesaving measures on the patients,” Lieutenant Wilson said in a statement on Monday, adding that four off-duty police officers and two Altoona Fire Department medics working at the park were at the scene. Three people in critical condition and one person with minor injuries were taken to a hospital.
“Altoona Fire and Police were on property and responded immediately,” the park said in a statement on Saturday. “We want to thank them as well as Des Moines, Ankeny, Bondurant, Pleasant Hill and Delaware Township Emergency Services for their fast response.”
On Sunday, park officials announced on Facebook that one of the guests had died. One child remained in critical condition on Monday and the others had minor injuries, according to the Police Department. It was not immediately clear whether any of the people who were hospitalized were related to Michael.
The park did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. “This investigation is ongoing and the ride remains closed,” Adventureland said on Sunday. Lieutenant Wilson said that investigators were working with the state inspector and the park “to understand this tragic accident.”
“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 on-site,” the park said.
Park officials said the ride had been inspected on Friday “and was found to be in sound working order.” The ride will remain closed for inspection.
This is not the first fatality in connection with the Raging River ride at the park, which features more than 100 rides and attractions. In 2016, a park employee, Steve Booher, 68, died while working on the ride, according to The Des Moines Register. Mr. Booher was assisting passengers getting out of the rafts at the end of the ride when he fell onto a conveyor belt, resulting in a fractured skull and brain injury, the paper reported.