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Iowa Division of Labor: Adventureland Raging River ride had 17 safety violations where 11-year-old died

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 7:44 PM CST
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ALTOONA, Iowa (KYOU) - A new report shows violations of the Raging River at Adventureland following the fatal accident on July 3rd, 2021.

In a report from the Iowa Division of Labor obtained by KYOU, inspectors found 17 safety violations on the ride. The safety report states there were faulty repairs on the Raging River ride and inconsistent records of repairs. It sites lack of training for managers on duty and inadequate evacuation training for employees.

1. Weirds were replaced with incorrect replacements not manufacture approved.

2. No engineering on weir replacements.

3. Weir detached from trough.

4. Bladder repairs did not have manufacturer approved patches. The product Flex Seal was used to repair leaks.

5. Operated ride with inadequate air pressures in raft bladders.

6. Did not test ride without passengers after repairs.

7. Inadequate response to back-to-back raft releases.

8. Rope was tied incorrectly from tube to raft. Connection broke free.

9. Deficient evacuation plan not updated with park changes.

10. Evacuation access blocked by fireworks setup.

11. No continuous direct supervision of ride patrons during ride cycle.

12. Deficient repair documentation.

13. Daily ride inspection forms deficient.

14. No training documented for manager on duty.

15. No documentation for ride maintenance crew training.

16. Inadequate ride operator/attendant training.

17. Inadequate evacuation training.

Before the ride can open again, Adventureland must complete 13 different tasks. This includes the park showing written documentation of “all repairs made daily to each ride and it shall be readily available per State and ASTM requirements.” The park must also have a “ride-specific” training checklist for all employees operating the ride. This also includes the same for employees performing maintenance on the ride.

In a statement to KYOU, Adventureland’s attorney, Guy Cook, said the July accident was the “result of a number of extraordinarily unusual factors coming together.”

Cook also noted a safety inspection that took place prior to the accident adding a State of Iowa amusement ride inspected found “no material violations of standards, codes, or safety orders on the ride.”

He went on to write, “Consistent with these annual pre-opening safety inspections and sign-offs by State inspectors over nearly 40 years, there have been no near misses, no serious accidents, and no fatalities of any park guests on the Raging River ride. The ride has a long history of safe operation. The recent order issued by the State inspector contains factual errors, comments on matters unrelated to the accident, and most importantly fails to acknowledge the issues cited in the order, if true, would have been in existence when the state inspector signed off on the ride following an inspection the day before the accident. Adventureland is committed to guest safety and will undertake all appropriate remedial measures to ensure the ride complies with established standards. Safety is the number one priority at Adventureland.”

On July 3rd, the Jaramillo family was on the Raging River ride when the raft suddenly flipped over. The accident injured all six riders, leaving 15-year-old David in a coma for two weeks and killing his brother, Michael.

KYOU spoke with the family’s pastor Christian Shields who said he’s trying to help the family navigate through this nightmare. He shared the last time he spoke with David saying: “The last conversation I had with him was about him getting his drivers license on his birthday. And, how excited he was to take that next step closer to adulthood.”

Since the accident, David has since been able to return home from the hospital.

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