Ride at Iowa Amusement Park Where Boy Died Will Never Reopen

The park owners said the ride where an 11-year-old boy died in 2021 would never open again.

Bill Lentz, the general manager of Adventureland, said in a letter on the park’s website on Friday that the Raging River ride will be closed for good after officials spent months reviewing its safety.

“The decision comes after months of examination of the ride, working closely with its manufacturer to identify what enhancements each would need to meet our operating standards,” Lentz said in the statement.

“Based upon that review, the best path forward is to close Raging River, and focus on enhancing the Adventureland experience elsewhere.”

Michael Jaramillo died on July 3, 2021, and his brother and father were hurt when their raft turned over and got stuck in the water. A conveyor belt moves big, round rafts through rapids on this ride.

Ride at Iowa Amusement Park Where Boy Died Will Never Reopen
Ride at Iowa Amusement Park Where Boy Died Will Never Reopen

In the wake of the boy’s death, the park was sold to Palace Entertainment, and Lentz took over as general manager in 2022. Palace Entertainment is the U.S. branch of Parques Reunidos, based in Madrid.

In June 2022, the Jaramillo family sued Adventureland and its former owners. In September 2022, they filed a separate claim against Iowa. The trial for that lawsuit is likely to happen next spring. The ride was safe, according to the people who used to own it.

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In November 2021, the park was given 17 safety violations by the state because of Jaramillo’s death. The Des Moines Register says that the violations included using Flex Seal instead of approved patches to fix leaks in the rafts’ flotation bladders, which keep the ride afloat, and not correctly documenting or testing repairs.

Steve Booher, a 68-year-old seasonal worker, died in 2016 when the ride suddenly started moving, and he fell. He got stuck between a boat and a concrete wall, and his head kept getting hit. He died days later.

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