World's Tallest Water Slide to Close for Good After Death

Schlitterbahn water park's 168-foot Verruckt slide to be taken down
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2016 7:34 AM CST
In this photo, riders go down the world's tallest water slide, the Verruckt at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kan., in July 2014.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(Newser) – The 10-year-old son of a Kansas lawmaker died on the world's tallest water slide this summer, and that ride is now closed for good. Caleb Schwab, the son of state Rep. Scott Schwab, suffered a "fatal neck injury" Aug. 7 on the 168-foot Verruckt slide at the Schlitterbahn Kansas City water park; the slide has been closed as investigators look into Caleb's death, the Kansas City Star reports. Once the probe is done and the park gets the legal go-ahead, the slide will be "decommissioned," with the ride permanently shuttered and the slide taken down from its tower, per a Schlitterbahn statement released Tuesday. "In our opinion, it is the only proper course of action following this tragedy," the park says, adding it remains "heartbroken" over Caleb's death.

It's not clear whether the Schwab family will sue or settle with the park, or if criminal charges will be filed, though the Kansas City PD tells KSHB charges aren't likely. In Kansas, permanent amusement park rides have to undergo yearly inspections, but they can be done by private firms rather than the state, the AP reports. In Schlitterbahn's case, all of its rides received a thumbs-up in June after they received private inspections. But some people who had ridden the slide, operational since 2014, spoke out after Caleb's death and noted they'd had uneasy experiences on the ride, including shoulder harnesses coming loose and rafts flying into the air when they shouldn't. The park notes in its release that it will eventually announce what attraction will be built in Verruckt's place. (Read more tallest water slide stories.)

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