Kansas City water park reopens less than a week after fatal accident

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The Schlitterbahn water park reopened Wednesday at noon and a steady stream of people could be seen walking into the park including dozens of parents and children.

Caleb Thomas Schwab

Caleb Thomas Schwab

The waterpark has been closed since Sunday afternoon, after 10-year-old Caleb Schwab diedwhile riding the Verrückt water slide.

Spokesperson for Schlitterbahn water park issued the following statement Tuesday:

"We will re-open tomorrow at noon and will not be providing interviews. We appreciate your sensitivity and ask for your continued respect and consideration of the Schwab family, our guests, and staff during this difficult time as we continue to pray for everyone impacted. Our update is below.

Here at Schlitterbahn we continue to pray and keep in our thoughts everyone impacted by the tragic events on Sunday and we are keeping the Schwab family in our prayers. A limited portion of our Kansas City park will open for guests at noon on Wednesday. Verrückt will not re-open for the remainder of the season. For more information visit our website."

Caleb was at Schlitterbahn with his mom, dad and brothers.  Caleb is the second son of Michele and Scott Schwab, a Kansas representative. Friends of the family say Caleb has an older brother and two younger brothers.

The 10-year-old was one of three passengers riding in a boat on the Verrückt water slide, which is promoted as the world's tallest slide, when he sustained a fatal neck injury.

Witnesses FOX 4 spoke with say they saw Caleb hit the top netting while going over the second bump, possibly causing the boy’s death along with facial injuries to the other two women who were in the raft with him.

While the park reopened Wednesday, the Verrückt will remain closed the rest of the year. There’s no word yet as to the fate of the ride, but the netting was removed from the end of the ride on Tuesday.

Parent Jessica Perrett said she will be cautious when it comes to the attractions she allows her children get on.

"I was terrified," Perrett said. "I didn't really want to come, but I couldn't hardly get out of it. I won some free tickets off  a local station in Nebraska. The kids have been looking forward to it since July 1. So, we're just going to try and enjoy every bit of it, hopefully."

One man was hoisted high in a cherry-picker slowly removing the netting on Tuesday afternoon.

One man was hoisted high in a cherry-picker slowly removing the netting on Tuesday afternoon.


The Kansas Department of Labor, which oversees amusement parks in Kansas, asked Schlitterbahn to hand over documents proving all safety requirements were being followed.

The Department of Labor doesn’t inspect the rides every year. It only requires Schlitterbahn hire a qualified inspector to look over the rides annually, but  Schlitterbahn officials say they test every ride every day before opening.

The Kansas Department of Labor also issued the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:

"The Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) and Secretary Lana Gordon wish to extend our continued thoughts and prayers to the Schwab family during the incredibly difficult time. 

Safety reviews and regulatory compliances fall to various entities. State law and regulations require that amusement parks perform annual safety inspections by safety officials licensed by the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials. KDOL has the authority to "conduct random" inspections of the records and certificates of inspections, along with any other documentation related to statutory compliance. 

All occurrences of serious injury resulting from the operation of an amusement ride require that the ride be immediately discontinued by the park pending further inspection. KDOL is acting to ensure full compliance with this and other provisions of the act and associated administrative regulations.