A 10-year-old boy died over the weekend while riding the Verruckt, a 168-foot-tall water slide at the Schlitterbahn waterpark in Kansas City. New information reported by the New York Daily News shows that the Verruckt water slide has not been inspected by a state investigator since the park’s opening.
Few details have been released about the death of Caleb Thomas Schwab, the son of Kansas state legislator Rep. Scott Schwab; however, it is clear that investigators are treating the death of the 10-year-old boy as a civil matter rather than a criminal incident.
According to Kansas City Police, Schwab sustained a fatal neck injury while riding the world’s tallest water slide. Witnesses, however, described a much more gruesome scene, saying the young boy was decapitated. Two women who were in the same raft as Schwab sustained facial injuries in the accident.
The slide has been closed as investigators review possible causes of the fatal accident. The park is planned to re-open later this week.
New documents revealed that the Kansas Department of Labor, the agency responsible for overseeing amusement parks, had not sent an inspector to check the slide since the parks opening two years ago. According to the Kansas Amusement Ride Act, all fixed rides must be inspected at least once a year.
Additionally, in a 2014 interview with CNN, the head designer for the Verruckt cited Kansas’ lax amusement park regulations as a reason for the slide being in Kansas City, stating “Our park in Kansas City doesn’t have a height restriction, so we decided to put it right here.”
Other documents suggest the slide’s debut was delayed due to safety concerns and that the slide opened with a rider age restriction of 14, which has since been adjusted to a height restriction.