Ride Kills Legislator's Son, Was Deemed Unsafe (Video)

| by Sheena Vasani
Caleb SchwabCaleb Schwab

Footage reveals a shaft flying off the world's tallest waterslide two years before the ten-year-old son of a Kansas state legislator was killed by the ride on August 7.

Kansas State Rep. Scott Schwab's son, Caleb, died while riding the 168-foot-high Verrückt slide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas, the Daily Mail reports.

Witnesses recall watching the child fly out of the raft before the safety netting above reportedly cut his head off, although police say Caleb died from a "fatal neck injury at the end of the ride, in the pool."

One witness described seeing blood "all over the slide." Two women were also injured in the accident. 

Since the incident, 2014 footage of the ride before it opened from Travel Channel's Xtreme Waterparks series has emerged, revealing problems with the rafts even then (video below).

The ride's opening date had even been pushed back as engineers rushed to fix the slide.

"We had many issues on the engineering side," said Verrückt creator and Schlitterbahn co-owner, Jeff Henry, according to USA Today. He added, "A lot of our math was based on roller coasters at first, and that didn't translate to a water slide like this. No one had ever done anything like this before."

Yet despite the struggles, the park assured people everything had been sorted.

"It's dangerous, but it's a safe dangerous now," Henry said. "Schlitterbahn is a family water park, but this isn't a family ride. It's for the thrill seekers of the world, people into extreme adventure."

Still, safety concerns lingered even before the recent tragedy occurred.

One woman at the park reportedly noted the velcro straps on the ride weren't working properly the day the child died.

About two weeks prior, on July 26, park-goer Paul Oberhauser said his shoulder restraint "busted loose" on his raft.

He informed park staff.

"They kinda said, 'Oh no, really,' or something, 'Yes, that's not good.' And so it sounded like you know they were gonna do something about it," Oberhauser said, although it's unclear if park staff fixed the problem.

Now Kansas Senator David Haley is calling for closer regulation of the state's amusement parks.

It's a necessary step, some might say, given Kansas has some of the weakest regulation of rides in America.

A long-time Schlitterbahn employee confirms she's never even seen state inspections, WDAF reports. The only time she's seen something like one was a slide inspection.

"Oh, it's okay," she recalls being told.

Sources: Daily MailUSA Today, WDAF / Photo credit: Daily Mail

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