Water Slide that claimed the life of a 10-year-old boy to be torn down
By: Julia Braham
KANSAS CITY (July 17, 2017) – The Verruckt Water Slide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City that killed 10-year-old Caleb Schwab in 2016 will be taken down after Labor Day.
The 168-foot-high water slide is the tallest in the world and can reach speeds up to 70 miles per hour. The speed and elevation of this ride caused Caleb Schwab’s raft fly into the air. He struck a metal pole and suffered a fatal neck injury.
Nearly two years after Schwab’s death, officials have approved plans to tear down Verruckt in the coming months. The slide has already been permanently closed since the deadly accident.
It is clear that Caleb Schwab’s death was due to negligence of many parties. Verruckt had many opening delays due to safety concerns and initially had an age requirement that would have prevented Schwab from riding the slide. When Schwab went on the slide in 2016, the slide had not been inspected since its opening in 2014.
In March 2018, a Wyandotte County grand jury led by the Kansas attorney general charged Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry, Verruckt designer John Schooley and general contractor Henry & Sons Construction with second-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated child endangerment for Schwab’s death and injuries sustained by other riders, prior to his death. Additionally, Tyler Miles, the former director of operations for Schlitterbahn faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated battery, aggravated child endangerment, and interfering with law enforcement.
They have all pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to go on trial together in September.
Spending a day at a water park or amusement park is a popular activity for most families, but many are unaware of the dangers. Theme parks and water parks with permanent rides made a deal that if they disclose all ride-related injuries that require immediate hospital stays of at least 24 hours, they are exempt from federal oversight. They are also able to avoid routine inspections by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., Partner Patrick A. Salvi Jr. explained on FOX 32 News shortly after Schwab’s death that the government only mandates that parks, such as Schlitterbahn, self-inspect for issues with rides. Many were hoping that the death of Caleb Schwab would bring awareness and persuade water parks and legislators to re-evaluate safety reporting, but so far nothing has changed.
If you or a loved one is injured at an amusement park due to the negligence of another person, you may be able to bring a legal case against the at fault party. Contact our attorneys for a free, no-obligation case consultation and to learn more about your rights.