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Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
Kansas City Star said:
A 12-year-old boy died Sunday afternoon on the tallest water slide in the world, the Verrückt, at the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, Kan.

A park spokeswoman confirmed the death at a news conference Sunday afternoon. Schlitterbahn shut down after the accident and will remain closed Monday. The slide will be closed pending a full investigation.

“We are saddened to share that a young boy died on Verrückt this afternoon,” said Winter Prosapio, corporate director of communications for Schlitterbahn. “Given that safety is our first priority we have closed our Kansas City park and have closed the ride pending a full investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”

Prosapio could not say whether the boy fell from the 17-story ride and she could not even say what time Sunday afternoon the incident occurred.

“We’ll have more details for you and we will share them,” she said, “but right now our focus is with the family.”

Off-duty Kansas City, Kan., police officers working security at the park called in the incident at 2:34 p.m. The police are working with the park on the investigation.

Verrückt opened in July 2014. Its German name means “insane.”

Riders must be at least 54 inches tall and are supposed to be at least 14 years old. It was not immediately clear why as 12-year-old was on the slide.

Riders sit in a three-person raft and are secured with straps across the waist and shoulders, like a seat belt. The chute drops 168 feet, 7 inches, and the raft hits speeds of 60 to 70 mph.

The opening of the Verrückt was delayed several times as the development team made adjustments.

This was the son of a Kansas state senator. It is all over every news source. This is extremely unfortunate for this family and the park. Thoughts and prayers go out to this family.

Edit: correction, he is a state representative, not a senator.
Saw a brief interview from a park patron this morning on the news. She was stating that the front seat harness / restraint was not working properly previous to the incident. Sad to have something tragic happen when it sounds like it could have been avoided multiple ways.
There are unconfirmed reports that the boy was decapitated. Horrible if true!
Its sad this ride had major safety issues before it opened and was still considered kind of dangerous. The park even referred to it as safe dangerous in a travel channel special on the ride. Makes you wonder if something like this was bound to happen at some point.
So I myself was kind of curious who the manufacturer of the ride was. For similar reasons for the Texas Giant accident, determining liable parties. Figured it was either ProSlides, White Water West, or someone similar, but according to the fact sheet the ride was designed and built in-house by Schlitterbahn Development Group.

Verrückt, The World’s Tallest Waterslide

Are you Insane? Verrückt (German for INSANE!) speed-slide combines the best elements of Schlitterbahn’s patented uphill water coaster Master Blaster™ technology with the mind-numbing drop of a speed slide. Taller than Niagara Falls, this new slide shattered all existing records with a height of 168 feet, 7 inches. A three-person raft ride, it is a thrill you can only experience with two of your most courageous friends. Verrückt has been a viral sensation from its inception, with millions of people around the world viewing early construction photos and videos of the slide.

Verrückt was also featured on the Travel Channel. The exclusive one-hour special following the design and construction of the world’s tallest water slide, Verrückt in Kansas City, KS, launched the 2014 season of “Xtreme Waterparks” on Travel Channel this summer. The special featured waterpark innovator Jeff Henry.

The Facts:

Verrückt, designed and built by Schlitterbahn Development Group for Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark,is the World’s Tallest Waterslide.

Description: Verrückt combines a breathtaking drop with an uphill blast on a hill that’s over 55 feet high. Three riders on a specially designed raft plummet down the equivalent of a drop from a 17 story building. It’s taller than Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty (from toe to torch).

Timeline: It took a total of two years to create Verruckt. From the general concept Jeff Henry put together through opening day in July 2014.

Celebrity Sightings: Pop Sensation Katy Perry, Professional Boxer and Film Actor Victor Ortiz, Trip Flip Host Bert Kreischer and The Gadget Show presenter Amy Williams.

Background: Verrückt, which translates from German as “insane,” was developed by Waterpark innovator Jeff Henry. Henry holds numerous patents for ride innovations and has brought inland water surfing, uphill water coasters and endless tube rides to the industry. The Henry family operates four Schlitterbahn parks around the country.

Ride Height: 168′ 7″

Ride Fiberglass Length: 601 feet

Top Deck Size: 30’ x 34’

Length of Aluminum Railings: 977 linear feet

Uphill Section: 1

Stairs to climb: 264

Stairway Length: 443 linear feet

Other: The build of Verrückt is the subject of a documentary being filmed by the Travel Channel. The tower of the ride is constructed from railroad tanker cars that have been cut and welded into a single vertical tower. The ride required advanced sensor and nozzle technology as well as a robust conveyor system never before built.

Construction: Schlitterbahn Development Group
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Here's a detailed gruesome account from a park visitor who witnessed the incident. He pretty much confirms the decapitation.
The article mentions "boom" sounds coming from the slide, and says that the boy's body washed up behind the raft. This makes me wonder if he fell off the raft and got pulled under it.
Joe said:
The article mentions "boom" sounds coming from the slide, and says that the boy's body washed up behind the raft. This makes me wonder if he fell off the raft and got pulled under it.

I can't find the story but I read in one article that the other two passengers had minor head and neck injures. IF true this would seem to support that the raft went airborne on the up hill and might have crashed into the safety fence. Again that is pure speculation on my part but it's worth noting that rafts going airborne during dummy testing did lead to a delay in the ride and redesign of it.

Here is a video about those problems.
Schlitterbahn has announced that this ride is permanently closed and will be taken down.
Note that the tower will still stand according to the wording in the release.

An attorney for the two women said the Schlitterbahn announcement was disgraceful and blind-sided them.

The attorney said he sent a letter to the water park chain Tuesday to see where things stood in the case, only to see the news on television.

He said he and his clients want the slide and the 17-story tower taken down and all of its parts destroyed.

I'm not sure what there is to get mad about here. I understand that it must be horrible to deal with such a tragedy, but that sort of attitude kinda annoys me. Maybe I'm just too cynical...
I'm sure for them they see any part of that ride as a reminder of what happened and want to see it destroyed for closure and revenge in a way.
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Kinda off topic, but I suppose it's a good example of something I live by. Everyone is the protagonist in their own story. We often can become encapsulated by our own lives to the point that we lose touch with what other people perceive as the right thing to do. It helps to understand that most wrongs have been committed with (somewhat) good intentions. I'm most positive that the family feels justified in such a request. An ambitious attorney wouldn't do anything to dissuade such feelings.
A bomb has just been dropped on the Schlitterbahn company.

They, along with former Director of Operations Tyler Miles, have been indicted in the death of Caleb Schwab, the boy who was decapitated on the Verruckt water slide back in August 2016.

I highlighted some stuff from the Kansas City Star:

A 47-page indictment portrays Schlitterbahn and its two top executives as brazenly pursuing the construction of the world's tallest water slide in a quest to impress producers of a cable television show.

In rushing the slide to completion, the indictment said company leaders:

• Did not follow amusement park industry safety standards.

• Lacked their own expertise in designing a thrill ride.

• Ignored warnings and whistleblowers about the safety of Verruckt.

• Failed to maintain the slide once it was built.

• And later covered up evidence of riders suffering injuries before Caleb was killed.

The allegations against Schlitterbahn

Schlitterbahn is a 40-year-old private family company that owns and operates five water parks, four of them in Texas.

It opened its location in Kansas City, Kan., in 2005 with extravagant promises of cabins, tree houses and hotel rooms to surround a sprawling water park. Over the years, the location has been smaller than originally planned. Verruckt figured to jump start the KCK location.

The indictment draws from internal Schlitterbahn emails, blueprints, videos, interviews and eyewitness statements to paint a picture of a company that sidestepped consideration of Verruckt's safety so it could quickly build a thrill ride to gain publicity for its KCK park.

It described the origins of Verruckt as a "spur-of-the-moment" idea to get attention from the Travel Channel's Xtreme Waterparks series, mirroring findings in an earlier Star investigation of Verruckt.

The slide, 17-stories high, carried three riders on a raft on a thin film of water down an initial plunge before riders went up a second hump.

Instead of vetting Verruckt, an experimental ride, through rigid dynamic and structural engineering, Friday's indictment said that Henry and Schooley both lacked technical expertise to design a properly functioning water slide.

The allegations against Miles

... The indictment accuses Miles of destroying or altering witness statements and incident reports of injuries. He is also accused of avoiding and delaying repairs to Verruckt, even though he had the authority to close Verruckt for safety-related repairs.

...The indictment accuses Miles of withholding reports from investigators that contain incriminating information about Miles and others.

When confronted about this, Miles allegedly told investigators he was following company policy.

According to the indictment, a 17-year-old lifeguard approached a Kansas City, Kan., police detective on Sept. 1, 2016, claiming he had been coerced into writing a coached statement about a rider's injury.

Wow, just WOW!  This sounds like some third world corruption going on.  If all this proves to be true then this may be the very end of this company.

Here's a link to the mind-boggling indictment.

Note - the indictment is 47 pages long so allow yourself a little time to read it all.  All this just to impress a low rated Travel Channel TV show!
It appears that the issue may go beyond the one ride. This is really not good news for the company.
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