Schlitterbahn Tearing Down Verrückt – The World’s Tallest Waterslide
Schlitterbahn announced today that the 168 foot tall Verrückt water slide at the Kansas City, Kansas waterpark will be permanently closed and taken down after a death of a young boy in August.
Caleb Schwab, (10) the son of a Kansas state Rep. Scott Schwab, died on a trip down the slide. Exactly what happened to Schwab’s raft is unclear, but he was found in a pool at the bottom of the ride, having come out of the raft. Schwab died of a significant neck injury, (some reports say he was decapitated). One of the women in the raft with him broke her jaw and the other broke a bone in her face.
The Texas-based theme park chain said in a statement that the water slide will be dismantled as soon as the investigation into Schwab’s death is complete. Schlitterbahn also said it would build something in the water slide’s place that will be announced at a later date.
Verrückt, a German word for “insane” or “crazy“, had been the park’s marquee attraction since opening in 2014. Its marketing materials included the slogan “R U Insane?” and it was listed by Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest water slide. After unsuccessful test runs, the opening of Verrückt was delayed while the slide underwent additional safety tests. It was re-designed and eventually opened to the public on Thursday, July 10, with a permanent safety net canopy attached.
Michael Rader, the attorney for the Schwab family, said he has been working with Schlitterbahn and its attorneys on a plan to decommission and eventually tear down the slide.
“The slide cannot be torn down until all investigations and potential litigation has concluded,” Rader said in a statement.
Schlitterbahn offered details of its decision in a message on its Facebook page:
“All of us at Schlitterbahn have been heartbroken over the tragedy that occurred on Verrückt. In our 50 years of providing an environment for families and friends to gather, we’ve never experienced this kind of devastating event. The safety of our staff and our guests is our top priority. We are parents and grandparents ourselves and many of us have ridden Verrückt with our own children and grandchildren over the years it operated.”
“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.”
“We will, at some point in the future, announce what will be built in its place.”
“We continue to fully cooperate with investigative teams and work with the families, their attorneys and our staff impacted by this accident. As we move forward, we assure everyone who works for us and the community: we remain wholly committed to our Kansas City park and the original vision of Schlitterbahn – providing a great place to work and an environment for families and friends to gather together. “
The slide has been removed from the parks website and closed since the accident on Aug. 7, 2016. A criminal investigation remains open after more than three months, but Kansas City police say that charges are unlikely. For more about Schlitternbahn and Verrückt, visit the parks official website by clicking here.
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