The Schlitterbahn waterpark in Kansas City (Kan.) announced last Tuesday that the Verrückt, known to be the world’s tallest waterslide, will not reopen following the death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab, son of state representative Scott Schwab, in August. The slide has been closed since the incident, and is now scheduled to be torn down.
A Schlitterbahn spokesperson said in a statement, “Once the investigation is concluded and we are given permission by the court, Verrückt will be decommissioned — closed permanently and the slide removed from the tower. In our opinion, it is the only proper course of action following this tragedy.”
The Verrückt, named in German to mean “insane,” opened for the first time in 2014 after an engineering delay following the initial safety tests. It was necessary to reconfigure certain angles of the ride when it was found that rafts weighed down by sandbags were consistently flying off the slide completely.
The slide stands 17 stories high, or 168 feet. Rafts holding two to three passengers held in by two Velcro straps go through two steep drops nearing freefall and can reach up to 70 mph. The rafts are not secured to the slide.
The waterpark requires riders to be a minimum of 54 inches tall to ride the Verrückt, and the total weight of the raft is required to exceed 400 pounds. The ride became so popular so quickly that reservations had to be made in advance to secure a place in line.
On the day of the incident, Caleb Schwab rode the Verrückt with two women who were not family members. Both women suffered minor facial injuries, while Caleb was reportedly found at the bottom of the slide already dead from a neck injury. According to BuzzFeed News, the investigation into the event is ongoing as both injured women and Caleb’s family consider lawsuits.
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