What Caused The Schlitterbahn Accident? Caleb Schwab's Death Has Prompted Questions
What better treat is there in this world than spending a steamy hot Sunday afternoon in August at a water park? It's a treat most of us have not only enjoyed, but looked forward to over the years. Nobody expects anything dangerous to happen; maybe pruned fingers or swimmers ear, but that's it. Tragically, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab's visit to Shlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City ended horrifically on Sunday when he was killed on the Verruckt water slide. Police have now released information about what caused the Schlitterbahn accident, but it can hardly offer any sort of relief to his poor parents.
Note: Details on Schwab's death may be disturbing to some.
According to the police report, Caleb Schwab died of a neck injury and was decapitated while riding the 168-foot Verruckt water slide. He was found dead at the bottom of the slide, and the two women who were with him were treated for minor injuries. Neither were related to Schwab, but his parents were with him at the park that day. Kelsey Friedrichsen, a witness who was at the park at the time of the accident, told People;
Family of the boy killed today at Schlitterbahn just shared his picture.— Christa Dubill (@christadubill) August 8, 2016
His name was Caleb.
Caleb Thomas Schwab
The Verruckt (which is German for "insane") water slide was promoted as the tallest water slide in the world when it opened in June. The ride, while available for riders over the height of 54 inches tall and who are able to understand the two page safety warning park employees must read them before they can enter, is actually meant for "thrill seekers", according to Jeff Henry, the co-owner of Schlitterbahn and creator of the Verruckt water slide.
The Verruckt water slide requires riders to be strapped in with seatbelts and is designed more like a roller coaster, with netting surrounding the slide to prevent rafts from catapulting into the air. During testing of the water slide, there was video footage of rafts doing exactly that. In fact, People reports that the initial opening date in 2014 was moved several times due to glitches with the ride. An excerpt of a first person account of riding the Verruckt water slide for the first time published by the Associated Press gave an idea of how uniquely terrifying the water slide truly could be.
I shouldn't need to wear a seatbelt or harness to ride a water slide. At that point it ceases being a water slide. #Verruckt— Resist TIMtation™ (@AvoidTIMtation) August 8, 2016
The water slide was immediately closed after Caleb Schwab's accident and remains closed as investigators continuing to assess what happened.
Whatever the investigators discover, the news will come too late for Caleb Schwab; a kid who just wanted to try out a big, cool water slide.
Our thoughts are with his parents.