Tragedy struck at a Kansas City Water park this past weekend when 10-year-old Caleb Schwab, the son of Kansas State Rep. Scott Schwab, was killed while he was venturing down the 168-feet tall water slide. With 264 stairs, the attraction is known for being the world’s tallest water slide.
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In the wake of the death of Schwab, Winter Prosapio, a spokesperson for the Schlitterbahn Water Park, seemed utterly dumbfounded on how this could have happened stating, “We honestly don’t know what’s happened. This is not something we’ve experienced [before].”
The behemoth of a water slide, known as Verrückt, literally means “insane” in German. To put its height into perspective, the slide is taller than the Statue of Liberty. Construction of the slide was delayed multiple times due to malfunctions when it first opened in 2014. The range of issues included water rafts flying off the side of the slide. Despite the issues, Jeff Henry, Verrückt creator and Schlitterbahn co-owner, managed to open the park.
Authorities reported that Schwab died an unimaginable death when he was ejected from his seat after his harness broke open and was tossed into the safety netting, where he was decapitated.
Josh Foster, who saw Caleb’s final ride stated, “It looked like he must have somehow been ejected from his seat, bounced around between the netting and the slide and just slid down. He would have fallen down without the raft. It’s kind of like a tube.”
The creator of the park stands by his decision to open the ride even with such severe problems regarding the safety of riders stating, “It’s dangerous, but it’s a safe dangerous now. Schlitterbahn is a family water park, but this isn’t a family ride. It’s for thrill seekers of the world, people into extreme adventure.”
Caleb’s father, who is a Kansas State representative, issued a statement saying, “Since the day he was born, he brought abundant joy to our family and all those who he came into contact with. As we try and mend our home with him no longer with us, we are comforted knowing he believed in his savior, Jesus, and they are forever together now. We will see him another day.”
The park is closed until further notice.