Son of Lawmaker Dies on Slide at Kansas Waterpark
A day of fun turned tragic after the son of a Kansas state lawmaker died on the world’s tallest water slide.
Caleb Thomas Schwab, the 10-year-old son of Rep. Scott Schwab died on Aug. 7 at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. The Schwab family released a statement to Kansas media.
“Since the day he was born, he brought abundant joy to our family and all those he came in contact with,” read the statement. “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.”
It was Elected Official Day at the water park, a day on which elected officials and their families were given free admission and lunch.
Schlitterbahn also released a statement after the incident on their Facebook page.
“We are saddened to share that a young boy died on Verrückt this afternoon,” read the statement. “Given that safety is our first priority, we have closed our Kansas City park and we have closed the ride pending a full investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”
Park spokesperson Winter Prosapio said at a press conference on Sunday that all rides are inspected on a daily basis.
“All rides are inspected every day actually,” said Prosapio. “And our rides are inspected by an outside party before the season starts.”
Verrückt is certified as the world’s largest tallest water slide by the Guinness Book of World Records at 168 feet. According to the water park’s website, three riders are strapped in a raft and must be a combined weight between 400 and 550 pounds—and no single rider can weigh over 300 pounds. Each rider must be at least 54 inches tall. In order to make reservations, riders must meet both the weight and height requirements.
Safety issues delayed the 2014 opening of the Verruckt water slide. The slide’s debut was delayed four times due to issues with the conveyor system, gearbox, and shafts.
Jeff Henry, co-owner of Schlitterbahn described the ride in an interview with USA Today in 2014.
“It’s dangerous, but it’s 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.”
Details of how the child died are unknown and is currently under investigation.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.