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Local Teen Recovering Following Accident at Raging Buffalo; Fund-Raiser Held

Donations for P.J. O'Donnell can be made on a GoFundMe fund-raising page set up by P.J.'s coworkers at Raging Buffalo Snowboard and Ski Park in Algonquin.

Credit: GoFundMe fund-raising page
Credit: GoFundMe fund-raising page
Friends of P.J. O'Donnell, a local teen recently injured while working at Raging Buffalo Snowboard and Ski Park, hit the slopes at the Algonquin ski park on Sunday to raise money for the Jacobs High School student, according to the Daily Herald. 

Those who stopped out were encouraged to wear red, P.J.'s favorite color, according to a "We Ride for PJ" Facebook event page. A bake sale was held at the event Saturday at Raging Buffalo, 1 Alan Drive in Algonquin, and those who stopped out were encouraged to sign a snowboard for P.J., according to the Facebook event. 

A GoFundMe fund-raising page has been set up to help raise money for P.J. and his family. As of Monday afternoon, nearly $5,000 of the $10,000 goal amount had been raised. 

O'Donnell was seriously injured earlier this month after his arm became stuck in a "roller brush that cleans snow from a ski conveyor lift" at Raging Buffalo Snowboard and Ski Park in Algonquin, according to the Daily Herald.

The teen was taken to an area hospital and spent several days in the intensive care unit, according to the Raging Buffalo Facebook page. He was recently moved out of the ICU and is recovering after multiple surgeries, according to the Raging Buffalo Facebook page and the Daily Herald

The above information was updated at 3:30 p.m. on March 10. 


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A local teen remained in the intensive care unit at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge Tuesday after his arm became stuck in a "roller brush that cleans snow from a ski conveyor lift" Sunday night at Raging Buffalo Snowboard and Ski Park in Algonquin, according to the Daily Herald.

Firefighters had to cut the machinery apart to free the Jacobs High School student's arm, "which was not severed" during the incident, according to the article.  The 17-year-old employee at Raging Buffalo was airlifted following the accident to Advocate in Park Ridge. 

Raging Buffalo, at 19N475 Route 31, was closed Sunday following the accident and Monday and re-opened Tuesday at 4 p.m., according to the Raging Buffalo Facebook page. The magic carpet on the beginner hill was not functional. 

Meanwhile, Raging Buffalo will hold a fund-raiser Sunday at the park to help raise money for the injured teen, according to Raging Buffalo's Facebook page

"Yes medical bills are handled by raging buffalo's insurance however there are other expenses that come with a situation like this and his co-workers have set this up to help his family," according to the Raging Buffalo Facebook page. "We are a family and we pull together as a family in a time like this. Not a penny of this goes to Raging Buffalo." 

Employees at Raging Buffalo set up a GoFundMe page Tuesday morning to help collect donations for the injured employee and his family. As of Tuesday afternoon, over $600 in donations had been collected. Donations can be made on that website

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate the incident to determine if there were any violations of safety, if the employee was adequately trained to work with the equipment, and if the machinery had a "lock-out mechanism," which could keep it from turning on "while being serviced," according to the Chicago Tribune. 

The investigation could take up to six months, according to the article. 

Read more on the Daily Herald and the Chicago Tribune

The above information was updated at 4 p.m. on March 4. 

The above photo was taken by  Alex Vucha. See more photos in his Flickr photo album

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UPDATED at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 3. 


The condition of a 17-year-old employee who was injured at Raging Buffalo Snowboard and Ski Park in Algonquin after becoming entrapped in a conveyer lift was not being released as of Sunday night, according to the Daily Herald. 

The injury is being referred to as serious and occurred when the boy was working on the gear lift at Raging Buffalo Sunday afternoon, according to the article. 

Raging Buffalo was closed Sunday following the incident and willremain closed all day Monday, according to Raging Buffalo's Facebook page. The following update was posted on the Raging Buffalo Facebook page Sunday evening: 

A Raging Buffalo Employee was injured today in a lift related incident. We view all of our staff as family and ask that you keep our injured employee, their family, and our staff in your thoughts and prayers. We'd like to thank our guests and staff for their assistance today in evacuating the hill as local fire departments, our staff, and our ski and snowboard patrol assisted on the injury. We will be closed the remainder of today and tomorrow Monday, March 3rd as we are all shaken up by the incident today.

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ORIGINAL ARTICLE: 
A 17-year-old employee at Raging Buffalo Snowboard and Ski Park in Algonquin was airlifted to an area hospital Sunday after he became stuck in a conveyer lift at the park, according to a Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District press release.

Emergency personnel were called to Raging Buffalo, 19N475 Route 31 in Algonquin, at 1:46 p.m. after an employee at Raging Buffalo found the teen. The teen's arm reportedly become stuck in a gear lift, according to a CINS Dispatch  update sent out at 2:18 p.m. 

The boy was extricated by emergency personnel at 2:47 p.m. and was air-lifted by Flight for Life to Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, according to the press release. 

Over 30 personnel along with four engines, one truck, two squads and two ambulances responded to the accident Sunday, which is under investigation. 

Responding fire departments include: Carpentersville, Crystal Lake, Huntley, Fox River Grove, East Dundee, Wauconda, Hoffman Estates, Lake Zurich, Nunda Township, Cary, Fire Departments.

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