Massive water slide that decapitated boy will be demolished, say park owners

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 10:29am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 10:29am

A 51-metre-tall Kansas waterslide on which a 10-year-old boy was killed last summer will be demolished once the unfolding investigation of the tragedy is finished, the water park’s operators said Tuesday.

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 ride — billed as the world’s tallest waterslide — has been closed since Caleb Thomas Schwab died on August 7 during one of its runs. The boy was decapitated in the accident, a person familiar with the investigation previously said on condition of anonymity because that person was not authorised to speak publicly about the boy’s death.

Two other riders in the raft, both women, were injured.

Attorneys for Caleb — son of Republican state Representative Scott Schwab — and the women are independently investigating the accident. No charges or lawsuits have been filed as of Tuesday. Messages left bfor the attorneys were not immediately returned.

Verruckt — German for “insane” — featured multi-person rafts that make a 17-story drop at speeds of up to 112km/h, followed by a surge up a hump and a 15-metre descent to a finishing pool.

Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts said in its statement Tuesday 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.”