IOWA CITY, Iowa – A teenager injured in an accident on an Iowa amusement ride that killed his younger brother remained on life support on Wednesday when he was 16, his family pastor said.
David Jaramillo has been in a medically induced coma at Blank Children’s Hospital since Saturday’s crash on the Raging River at Adventureland Park in Altoona, Pastor Christian Shields said.
David has brain function and has woken up several times in Des Moines Hospital, opening his eyes and asking what happened, he said. He remains connected to breathing apparatus, but doctors hope to wean him off life-saving assistance, Shields said.
Shields, the pastor of Christian Life Church in Cedar Rapids, said it was a miracle David was alive after being trapped under a boat in the water for several minutes. The church has scheduled a family prayer vigil for Wednesday evening and is sponsoring a GoFundMe page which raised $ 30,000.
“We will pray for David’s life, that his brain function will be miraculously intact and unhindered and have no lasting, long-term effects on him,” he said. “He is still in very serious condition, but there are good signs.”
Friends brought balloons to the hospital for David’s birthday, but “there won’t be a lot of celebrations.”
Family lawyer Ryan Best said Wednesday that David “responds to questioning by moving his toes and head”, an encouraging sign.
The Jaramillo family, from Marion, Iowa, traveled to Adventureland to celebrate David’s upcoming birthday on Saturday. David, a junior at Linn-Mar High School, was excited about getting his driver’s license as a step towards freedom and adulthood, Shields said.
David, his younger brothers Gus, 14, and Michael, 11; their cousin Nyla Pettie, aged 18; and parents Sabrina and David Jaramillo boarded a boat for the ride on Saturday night. A staple of the family park since 1983, the ride uses a conveyor belt to push the circular boats through the rapids.
The family’s boat overturned within 20 seconds of the start of the trip, Shields said, causing the six to hit their heads on the surface below and trap them in their seat belts under the ‘water.
What tipped the raft is still under investigation, but at least one of its eight bladders has been deflated, according to a mandatory “major failure” report filed by Adventureland with the state and released. at the Associated Press.
Adventureland attorney Guy Cook said the bladder could have deflated on overturning and it was premature to draw any conclusions. He said it was the first time that one of the boats has collapsed on tens of thousands of launches in the 38-year history of the race.
Nyla managed to pull herself and Gus away and the two came out with minor injuries, Shields said.
The boat was crushing the shoulder of David, 43, and he could hear his bones cracking as he tore his shoulder from underneath to free himself, Shields said. He and Sabrina got out and could see their sons face down in the river, but could not move the boat because of David’s arm injuries.
They shouted for help as more rafts passed and believed that at least 10 minutes had passed before the workers shut off the water to the ride and the boys were released from the water, a- he declared. Emergency responders on site began very quickly with rescue and CPR measures, but several minutes passed before an ambulance could reach them and transport the four most seriously injured to hospital.
Cook said the timeline of the crash was still under investigation.
Doctors have decided to remove Michael, who is entering sixth grade at Boulder Peak Middle School, from life support on Sunday after he showed no brain function and his organs failed. Shields said he and other pastors held the boy’s hand and sang as medics turned off the machine.
Shields had met Michael this summer because the boy had volunteered for a church fundraiser cleaning up a minor league baseball stadium after games. He promised he would show up for the 12 nights and he did, happily picking up the trash and the beer bottles.
Shields said Michael was “full of smiles, laughs and jokes,” loved small dogs, playing video games and hanging out with friends.
“The potential that has been stolen from this world is untold with a young man like Michael,” he said. “It’s a gem.”
The Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office said Wednesday that an autopsy on Michael had been performed, but the cause and manner of death were still under investigation.