Iowa Teen Hurt in Fatal Park Ride Accident Leaving Hospital

A teenager who was critically injured in an Iowa amusement ride accident that killed his younger brother last month was expected to be released from the hospital Tuesday, the family’s attorney said.

David Jaramillo, 16, planned to leave Blank Children’s Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, attorney Ryan Best said.

Jaramillo was placed on life-support after the July 3 accident on the Raging River raft ride at Adventureland Park in Altoona, a suburb or Des Moines. His 11-year-old brother, Michael Jaramillo, died the day after the accident.

Best said David Jaramillo has been talking, texting, making phone calls and even running at the hospital. But he still faces rehabilitation to address balance issues and to improve his fine motor skills, among other concerns, Best said.

“I think that the family would refer to it as a miracle,” he said. “When I first went down there after the accident, I didn’t know if he was going to make it. His prognosis is certainly remarkable.”

The Jaramillo family, of Marion, Iowa, went to Adventureland to celebrate David’s birthday. David, Michael, 14-year-old brother Gus; 18-year-old cousin Nyla Pettie; and David’s parents Sabrina and David Jaramillo boarded a boat for the ride that has been a staple of the park since 1983. The ride uses a conveyor belt to push circular rafts through rapids.

The family’s boat flipped upside down within seconds of the ride beginning, causing all six to hit their heads on the surface below and trapping them in their seatbelts underneath the water. The parents, Gus and Pettie managed to unbuckle or escape their seatbelts, but David and Michael were trapped underwater for around 10 minutes, according to the family.

At least one other family who rode on one of the boats within minutes of the Jaramillo family reported problems with their raft. Amber Estrada, 31, told The Associated Press last month that the boat carrying her family at times struck and dragged along the bottom of the manmade river, and that her family felt unsafe.

An attorney for Adventureland, Guy Cook, said Tuesday that the investigation into the accident is continuing and that Estrada’s claims have not been verified. Cook said the boats cycle through the ride every four minutes, and that no one else has lodged complaints about problems with the boats on the day of the accident.

“The park is committed to getting to the bottom of this,” Cook said.

The Raging River ride was shut down after the accident and remains closed, Cook said.

About the photo: Family and friends of Michael Jaramillo, the 11-year-old killed on the Raging River ride at Adventureland, gather for his funeral at Corinthian Baptist Church Saturday, July 17, 2021 in Des Moines, Iowa. Michael Jaramillo died after an amusement ride capsized. (Brian Powers/The Des Moines Register via AP)