Tallest waterslide to be demolished after death

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Caleb Thomas Schwab suffered a fatal neck injury on the 168ft-tall Verruckt raft ride at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City in August.

The park has confirmed the ride, which has remained closed since the tragedy, will be torn down once investigations into the boy’s death have concluded.

“In our opinion, it is the only proper course of action,” a spokesman for the park said in a statement, adding that staff had been left “heartbroken”.

“In our 50 years of providing an environment for families and friends to gather,” the statement read, “we’ve never experienced this kind of devastating event.”

The park will wait until a court gives approval to remove the slide, it said.

The Verruckt waterslide at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City in July 2014
Image Caption:The ride opened at the Kansas water park in 2014

Caleb, son of Republican state representative Scott Schwab, had been visiting the park with his family and was one of three passengers riding a boat on the slide.

Two other riders, both women, were injured in the incident on 7 August.

Attorneys for Caleb and the women are independently investigating the accident, but any potential charges or lawsuits are yet to be filed.

Lynn Johnson, an attorney for the women, said in August that his clients wanted “answers and assurances from Schlitterbahn that the slide will be corrected or not continue to be in operation”.

“If necessary, there will be litigation,” he said at the time.

Verruckt – German for “insane” – featured multi-person rafts making a 17-storey drop at speeds of up to 70mph, followed by a surge up a hump and a 50ft-descent to a finishing pool.

US regulations of waterslides and other amusement rides have faced scrutiny following Caleb’s death.

Kansas mandates annual inspections of permanent amusement park rides but allows private inspectors to do the checks, rather than requiring a state inspection.

A document released by the state Department of Labor after Caleb’s death showed all of Schlitterbahn’s rides passed private inspections in June.

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