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1 dead, 3 injured after 'Raging River' amusement park ride

The park said the ride had been inspected and was in working order on the Friday before the incident.
/ Source: TODAY

An 11-year-old boy has died and three others were injured after a boat overturned on the Raging River ride at Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa over the holiday weekend, Altoona Police Department confirmed to NBC News.

On July 3, Adventureland Park posted a message on their Facebook page letting the public know that there were six riders on the boat, four of whom were transported to a local hospital.

"At approximately 7:35pm on 7/3/21 a boat on the Raging River ride overturned with 6 riders on it," the amusement park posted. "4 guests were transported to a local hospital with injuries, 3 critical and one minor. Altoona Fire and Police were on property and responded immediately. We want to thank them as well as Des Moines, Ankeny, Bondurant, Pleasant Hill and Delaware Township Emergency Services for their fast response. 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 park limited who was able to comment on the post. Then Sunday night, they posted another Facebook update with some sad news.

"Adventureland is saddened to learn of the passing of one Guest involved in the Raging River accident on the evening of 7/3/21. 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."

The Altoona Police Department identified the boy as Michael Jaramillo, 11, and said another minor is still in critical condition.

The Raging River ride, which takes guests through water rapids on circular boats, is described on Adventureland Park's website as a family ride: "You will get wet, possibly soaked on this river rapids ride. A great way to cool off with the whole family!" The minimum height requirement for the ride is 36 inches.

According to the Associated Press, the incident occurred Saturday evening around 7:30 p.m. Although deaths at amusement parks are rare occurrences, they are not unheard of. An attorney for Adventureland Park told NBC News the amusement park is "a well-run and maintained facility" and "safety is the No. 1 priority at Adventureland. The Raging River ride has been in operation for nearly four decades. It is a safe ride."

The Iowa Division of Labor told TODAY they initiated an investigation of the Raging River on July Fourth.

"Today the Labor Commissioner formally ordered a cessation of operation of the Raging River pending the outcome of the investigation and correction of hazards. It is unknown at this time how long the investigation will take," the Commissioner's Office told TODAY.


This story was updated to include new information from the Altoona Police Department, a comment from Adventureland Park and a statement from the Iowa Division of Labor.