Verrückt Water Slide To Be Torn Down 'In Coming Months'
Schlitterbahn will tear down the Verrückt water slide in Kansas City, Kansas, nearly two years after 10-year-old Caleb Schwab died on it.
Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in an email Thursday that demolition “will proceed in the coming months.” She provided no further details.
The 17-story water slide, billed as the world’s tallest, opened in 2014 after being delayed for several weeks for safety reasons. And though the water slide has been closed since Schwab’s death on Aug. 7, 2016, it had been allowed to stand pending investigations into what happened.
Schwab, the son of speaker pro tem of the Kansas House of Representatives Scott Schwab, R-Olathe, was killed when the raft he was riding in went airborne and struck a metal pole.
Five individuals have been indicted in connection with the boy's death. They include the water slide’s two designers, who were charged with second-degree murder; its former director of operations, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter; and two maintenance workers, who were charged with obstructing law enforcement by giving false information to investigators.
The waterpark itself has also been charged with involuntary manslaughter, and a general contractor has been charged with reckless second-degree murder.
Prosecutors have accused the ride’s designers of building Verrückt without consulting qualified engineers and rushed construction to meet a TV show deadline. One of the designers, Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry, pleaded not guilty in April and is scheduled to stand trial in September.
In May, a Kansas Department of Labor audit found dozens of safety violations at Schlitterbahn, which opened this season on Memorial Day weekend. Schlitterbahn, which is based in Texas, criticized the audit's accuracy and said its commitment to safety remained its “highest priority.”
Correction: The wrong title was listed for Scott Schwab in an earlier version of this story. It has since been corrected.
Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies