Kansas State Representative Scott Schwab’s 10-year-old son, Caleb Thomas Schwab, died Sunday, August 7, while riding the world’s tallest waterslide at Kansas City’s Schlitterbahn water park.
Scott and his wife, Michele, issued a statement Sunday night regarding their son’s tragic and unexpected death.
"Since the day he was born, he brought abundant joy to our family and all those who he came into contact with," the distraught parents’ statement read. "As we try and mend our home with him no longer with us, we are comforted knowing he believed in his savior, Jesus, and they are forever together now. We will see him another day."
Caleb died while riding the slide, named the Verrückt (which translates to “insane” in German), where two to three riders get in a raft and “slide down a jaw-dropping 168-foot, 7-inch structure, only to be blasted back up a second massive hill and then sent down yet another gut-wrenching 50-foot drop for the ultimate in waterslide thrills," the park's official website explains.
The attraction — which is 17 stories high and compares in size to Niagara Falls — requires the two to three riders per raft to have a combined weight between 400 and 550 pounds, and for each rider to be at least 54 inches tall, according to Schlitterbahn’s website. It remains unknown if Caleb met the height requirement, or if he and his fellow riders met the weight requirement. The condition of those Caleb rode with remains unknown as well.
Guests who visited the park the day of Caleb’s accident allege that the harness used to strap passengers into the Verrückt had not been working properly.
"A lady in front of me said that multiple times she rode the ride today, the Verrückt, and that the front harness did not work any of the times that she rode it,” park guest Jessica Lundquist told local news station KSHB on Sunday.
Water park officials say Schlitterbahn will be closed Monday and the Verrückt has been indefinitely shut down until a full investigation has been made.
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