KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Months after 10-year-old Caleb Schwab died while riding the "World's tallest water slide," Schlitterbahn announced it will decommission the Verrückt. In a news release issued on Tuesday, Schlitterbahn says that once a court grants it permission following an investigation, the water park will close the slide permanently and remove it from the tower.
"All of us at Schlitterbahn have been heartbroken over the tragedy that occurred on Verrückt.... In our opinion, it is the only proper course of action following this tragedy." the release reads in parts.
The release also mentions that Schlitterbahn continues to cooperate with investigators and work with families affected by the tragedy.
Caleb was reportedly riding the slide with two adult women, with whom he was matched on the raft. The women are from north of Hays, Kan. One suffered a broken jaw, and the other a broken bone in her face and had to have stitches in her eye.
The husband of one of the women says they are also suffering emotionally. He says the women do not know exactly what happened because it happened so fast. One of them had her eyes closed. One described it as the worst day of her life.
The slide was in compliance with Kansas' legal requirements for amusements rides, which mostly involve proper record-keeping. State law mandates that parks annually “self-inspect” their rides and maintain the records. The state has authority only to audit the records.
Schlitterbahn says it will announce something to be built in Verrückt's place at a later date.
People in the Kansas City area weighed in on the decision Tuesday night:
“I think it's a good idea. It's too high, I didn't even try it when I was there,” said Shelbi Thomas.
"If I had kids, just by the look of that I wouldn't even have them ride it in the first place," said Don Thomas.
"They probably should've had some better regulations. As far as age and size because it did seem a bit extreme with the angles and everything,” said Cory Solis.
The Unified Government says it has no comment regarding the decision, saying it was Schlitterbahn's call to make. A lawyer for Caleb Schwab's family provided this statement:
On behalf of the Schwabs, I have been working in conjunction with Schlitterbahn and their attorneys in permanently decommissioning the slide and ensuring that it is eventually torn down.
The slide cannot be torn down until all investigations and potential litigation has concluded. - Michael C. Rader.