The parents of an 11-year-old boy who died on a theme park ride said they helplessly watched him die as their seat belts trapped them on the ride.

The family had just buckled their seat belts on a water ride at an Iowa amusement park on Sunday when their raft overturned, trapping them underwater.

The dad, David Jaramillo, said: "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 tragic incident killed their 11-year-old son Michael, and left their 15-year-old son, David, in a medically induced coma.

The Jaramillos family were at Adventureland Park, in Altoona, when they decided to board the Raging River ride with their three sons and their niece.

When the ride suddenly flipped over both parents, one son and their niece eventually managed to break free and swim to the surface, but their other two sons, Michael and David, remained stuck.

The father told ABC News: "I'm drowning. The river was so intense, it was like a suction."

People jumped into the water to help and eventually the children were pulled out of tube.

They were rushed to hospital where Michael died on the same day, and where David remains in a critical condition, the local police department said.

Michael's mum, Sabrina, said: "I will never get a chance to see him grow up or get a chance to see him graduate.

“I feel like Adventureland robbed me of my baby, I’m gonna never get a chance to see him grow up."

Their youngest son is struggling with flashbacks over the incident, the Jaramillos told ABC News.

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"He's scared. It is a nightmare. He closes his eyes and thinks about the water. When he wakes up, he realises the nightmare's true. So there's no peace," his father said.

Police in Altoona are working with Adventureland Park to determine what caused the accident, the second death on the ride in the last five years

Attorney for Adventureland Park, Guy Cook, said: "The ride was inspected by the State of Iowa the day before the incident and was in good working order.”

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