Spokane lawyers helping family file wrongful death lawsuit in waterpark tragedy

ALTOONA, Iowa — On Thursday, an Iowa family who’s son died because of a waterpark ride filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the waterpark. Their attorneys are from Spokane.

The Jaramillo family was celebrating their son’s upcoming 16th birthday at the Adventureland Park on July 3, 2021. It quickly turned into a nightmare when their raft from the Raging River ride flipped over, pinning the entire family.

“We went there, all good intentions, have a great time, great memories, family, fun, you can’t go wrong,” said David Jaramillo Sr. “And it did.”

While most of the family was able to get out, 11-year-old Michael Jaramillo and 15-year-old David Jr. were trapped underwater for more than five minutes. Michael did not survive and David was placed in a medically-induced coma for a month.

Thumbnail Michael

Michael Jaramillo

The family in the lawsuit states that nobody from Adventure Land came to help, and the three employees staffed on the ride had never worked on that ride prior to that day and never been trained on the ride prior to that day. The lawsuit also cited an investigation conducted by the Amusement Ride Safety Division for the State of Iowa after Michael’s death which found 17 different safety violations by Adventure Land.

“There was a reckless level of failure to maintain this ride,” said attorney Ryan Best. “We’re seeking accountability, for the managers, for the CEO, for this Adventure Land Park that failed to maintain this park.”

The ride had been closed all of 2020 for maintenance. It reopened the same day the Jaramillo family went to the park. The lawsuit states that “Adventure Land could not properly test the Raging River ride because the pumps were not working properly,” and that “no documentation exists to show that Adventure Land followed safety protocols on the Raging River ride on July 3, 2021.”

“You should’ve just done your job,” Jaramillo said. “I mean, not one, not two, not three, but four…sources could’ve stopped this, and it seemed like no one really cared.”

David Jaramillo Sr. is still undergoing surgeries on his shoulder and Sabrina Jaramillo is partially blind in one eye because of the ride. While their son, David Jaramillo Jr. survived, his mom explains he sometimes forgets what happened to his younger brother.

“His teacher was talking about rollercoasters and then his new memory was him standing in line waiting to get on the ride,” she said. “And then we had to explain to him, what happened that day. And then, he’ll forget what we explained to him what happened that day.

The Raging River ride has been closed since Michael’s death, but can reopen. The Jaramillo’s do not want that to happen.

The trial for the date has not yet been set.