Waterslide where boy died to come down, park says

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Kansas water park plans to tear down a giant water slide on which a 10-year-old boy died in 2016. CBS Kansas City affiliate KCTV reports park officials confirmed the 17-story Verruckt Waterslide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark will be coming down after Labor Day. 

Attorney Melanie Morgan told the Kansas City Star says the work is expected to take about three weeks. The Kansas City park posted a statement on its Facebook page saying it had received court approval to demolish the ride. 

Caleb Schwab was decapitated in August 2016 while riding the waterslide. His death led to criminal charges against the company that built the slide and five individuals, including Schlitterbahn’s co-owner.

Schlitterbahn says Caleb’s death was a tragic accident.

Verruckt — German for “insane” — included multi-person rafts that made a 17-story drop at speeds of up to 70 mph, followed by a surge up a hump and a 50-foot descent to a finishing pool. It received national publicity when it opened at the park in 2014.  

KCTV reports that many had wondered why the slide was still there — especially since it was painful for some to see. At one point, the park’s leadership said a court order prevented them from demolishing it, KCTV reports.   

The waterslide closed after Caleb’s death, but it remained at the park due to the investigation into his death. Schlitterbahn had said it will dismantle the ride when the investigation into the boy’s death is complete.

Schwab’s family reached settlements of nearly $20 million with Schlitterbahn and various companies associated with the design and construction of the waterslide. The two women who rode with Caleb suffered serious injuries and settled claims with Schlitterbahn for an undisclosed amount.

Before the boy’s death, Kansas law allowed parks to conduct their own annual inspections of rides. Lawmakers last year nearly unanimously approved stricter, annual inspection requirements for amusement park rides that set qualifications for the inspectors and required parks to report injuries and deaths to the state.

But only weeks later, lawmakers passed a follow-up bill delaying the enforcement of criminal penalties for operating a ride without a state permit until this year. And this year, the Senate and a House committee have approved legislation to lessen regulation for “limited use” rides at events like county fairs and exempt some amusements, such as hay rides, from regulation.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Free America Network Articles

Leave a Comment