Society

Family Of Boy Killed At Waterpark To Receive Settlement

| by Simone Stover

The family of a boy who was killed on a waterslide will receive approximately $20 million in settlements. 

Back in August of 2016, The Kansas City Star reported that 10-year-old Caleb Schwab -- the son of a state representative -- had been killed at a Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, Kansas. His death occurred on the Verruckt waterslide, the tallest waterslide in the world, which stood at 17 stories high. Police initially described his cause of death as a fatal neck wound.

During the ride, Caleb was on a raft with two other individuals. An investigation by the Kansas attorney general's office is still ongoing, but it is thought that his death occurred because the raft went airborne and caused him to come in contact with the netting above the slide. 

Following Caleb's death, others who had gone on the slide reported that their rafts had gone airborne while on the ride. In addition, it was said that the strap that was meant to keep riders in place did not work properly.

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"As soon as I hit the bottom of the first curve the shoulder strap just kind of busted loose," a parkgoer who visited Schlitterbahn two weeks before Caleb's death told CBS News.

In addition, following the incident, CBS News reported that the water slide had not been inspected since its 2014 opening. They reported that the last inspection of the park by state inspectors had occurred in 2012, but none had taken place since. 

According to The Kansas City Star, prior to Caleb's death, Kansas City and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County were not required to impose safety regulations on amusement park rides under Kansas law. However, back in April, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill that will make the regulation of such rides within the state more strict in the future. 

On May 4, The Kansas City Star obtained court documents outlining the settlement payments made to Caleb's family by companies involved in the incident. The Schwab family will receive: $14 million from SV I and KC Water Park, two companies associated with Schlitterbahn; $5 million from Henry & Sons Construction, the general contractor on the water slide; $500,000 from Zebec of North America, which manufactured the raft; and $232,125 from National Aquatics Safety Co. and its founder, John Hudsucker, whose company consulted on the water slide.

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All in all, the figures amount to a total of $19,732,125. According to The Kansas City Star, this is most likely the largest amount of money paid in any wrongful death case of a minor in Kansas. 

The two women who were on the ride with Schwab suffered serious facial injuries, but have reportedly settled their claims with the companies involved in the construction of the slide. 

"The Schwab family and all those impacted by the accident will forever be in our thoughts and prayers, and our deepest condolences are with the family," said Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio in an email to The Kansas City Star. "We are thankful to have reached a settlement with all parties. We will be removing the ride from our Kansas City park when given permission by the court, which we have yet to receive."

Sources: The Kansas City Star (2, 3), CBS News / Photo credit: Pixabay

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