For the Jaramillo family, a holiday weekend spent at a local amusement park was supposed to be a celebration to mark their oldest child’s upcoming birthday.
Instead, it turned into a “nightmare” that left their 11-year-old son dead and their 15-year-old in a medically induced coma, grieving parents David and Sabrina Jaramillo told ABC News.
“He was just taken from us. Love your kids,” David told the outlet. “You just don’t know when they’ll be taken.”
The family made an outing to Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa on Saturday to celebrate the upcoming birthday of their son David, who will turn 16 on Wednesday.
After riding several other rides, the group — David, Sabrina, sons David, Michael and Gus, and niece Mila — got on the Raging River ride and buckled their seatbelts.
Their tube soon flipped over, and though the parents, Gus, and Mila were able to break free and swim to the surface, David and Michael, 11, were trapped underwater, ABC News reported.
“I see the silhouettes of my sons trying to grab each other, grab us. They want us to help them. We couldn’t do it,” the elder David told the outlet. “The river was so intense, it was like a suction.”
After receiving help from witnesses and first responders, Michael and his brother were taken to a local hospital in critical condition, where Michael died the next day. David, meanwhile, remains hospitalized in critical condition and in a medically induced coma, according to ABC News.
“He was a baby and I feel like Adventureland robbed me of my baby,” Sabrina told the outlet. “I will never get a chance to see him grow up or get a chance to see him graduate.”
As the couple grieves for the loss of their child, so, too, does their youngest son, Gus.
“He’s scared. It’s a nightmare. He closes his eyes and thinks about the water,” David said. “When he wakes up, he realizes the nightmare’s true. So there’s no peace.”
An investigation into the accident by state and local authorities is ongoing, and the Raging River ride remains closed, the theme park said.
Park officials said on Sunday that the ride was inspected on Friday, just one day before the accident, and was found “to be in sound working order.”
“Adventureland is saddened to learn of the passing of one Guest involved in the Raging River accident on the evening of 7/3/21. 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 park said in a statement.