Caleb Thomas Schwab, who was killed, was the son of Republican state Rep. Scott Schwab (pictured together)
A 168ft-tall Kansas waterslide on which a state lawmaker’s 10-year-old son was killed in August will be demolished, the water park’s operators said yesterday.
The ride — billed as the world’s tallest waterslide — has been closed since Caleb Thomas Schwab, son of Republican state Rep. Scott Schwab, died August 7 during one of its runs.
The boy was reportedly decapitated in the accident and two other riders in the raft, both women, were injured.
Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts and the family that runs it said in a statement that the ‘Verruckt’ ride at the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kansas, will be permanently removed from its tower ‘once the investigation is concluded and we are given permission by the court.’
‘In our opinion, it is the only proper course of action following this tragedy,’ the statement read, adding that ‘all of us at Schlitterbahn have been heartbroken over the tragedy that occurred on Verruckt.’
The Verruckt ride — German for ‘insane’ — featured multi-person rafts that make 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.
Witnesses say Caleb flew off the ride at around 50ft from the ground and hit the netting
This file photo shows Schlitterbahn’s 168-foot-tall Verruckt speed slide/water coaster in Kansas City, Kansas. Attorneys for Caleb (left) are independently investigating the accident
Riders, who were required to be at least 4ft6in tall, were harnessed with two nylon seatbelt-like straps — one crossing the rider’s lap, the other stretching diagonally like a car shoulder seatbelt.
Each strap is held in place by long straps that close with fabric fasteners, not buckles. Riders hold ropes inside the raft.
Riders are weighed to ensure each raft carries between 400lbs and 550lbs.
Attorneys for Caleb and the two injured women are independently investigating the accident.
No charges or lawsuits have been filed so far.
Caleb’s father State Rep. Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican, and his mother, Michele, released a statement in August asking for privacy as the family grieves.
‘Since the day he was born, he brought abundant joy to our family and all those he came in contact with,’ the statement said.
Caleb was understood to be sat at the front of the raft and was ejected as it hit the second drop (pictured) some 50ft from the ground
States’ regulations of waterslides and other amusement rides have faced scrutiny following Caleb’s death.
Kansas is known for its light regulation of amusement park rides, and the Texas-based company that operates Schlitterbahn lobbied legislators to help ensure that it remained responsible for its own inspections.
Kansas mandates annual inspections of permanent amusement park rides but allows private inspectors to do the checks, rather than requiring a state inspection.
A document released by the state Department of Labor after Caleb’s death showed that all of Schlitterbahn’s rides passed private inspections in June.
Lynn Johnson, an attorney for the women injured while accompanying Caleb in a raft, said in August that his clients ‘want answers and assurances from Schlitterbahn that that slide will be corrected or not continue to be in operation.’
‘If necessary, there will be litigation,’ he added.
Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts said in its statement yesterday that it has been cooperating with investigators and the victims’ families and attorneys, noting that ‘the safety of our staff and our guests is our top priority.’
‘In our 50 years of providing an environment for families and friends to gather,’ the statement read, ‘we’ve never experienced this kind of devastating event.’