10-Year-Old Dies on 'Insane' Waterslide on What Should Have Been a Day of Fun

Verruckt water slideWhen you take your kids to a water park for the day, you expect plenty of walking, possibly some long lines, and the need for sunscreen. But, even though some of the rides may look terrifying, you never expect tragedy to strike. Yet, a 10-year-old boy died this weekend after riding Verrückt, a 168-foot-high waterslide, billed as the tallest in the world.

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While the details are still unclear, Verrückt -- German for "Insane" -- is located at Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas, and stands about a foot taller than Niagara Falls.

According to the park's website, the ride requires that two to three riders per raft have a combined weight of between 400 and 550 pounds. Riders must also be at least 54" tall. It's unknown if Caleb Schwab and his fellow passengers met those prerequisites.

Caleb Schwab

The park is currently closed as the boy's death is under investigation.

A GoFundMe page has been established to help cover funeral expenses. On the page, Caleb's dad, Kansas state lawmaker Rep. Scott Schwab, and his mom, Michele, made the following statement: 

Since the day he was born, he brought abundant joy to our family and all those who he came into contact with.

As we try to 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.

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Your heart breaks for this family. Reportedly, they were all at the park together for "Elected Official Day," where, along with other lawmakers and their families, they enjoyed lunch and free admission.

What probably started out as a fun family day together took an unthinkable turn. Many parents get nervous when their kids want to tackle these thrill rides, but you're at an amusement park -- you assume that if you adhere to the guidelines, you're safe. 

But the ride, which was built in 2014, wasn't without its issues. Part of it was torn down and rebuilt before it officially opened due to concerns. And, local TV station KSHB reported that more than one water park visitor complained that the ride's restraint harness wasn't working properly on the day Caleb rode it. Unless those guests reported it immediately, ride operators might not have been aware of it -- nor were fellow riders until they were headed down the incredibly steep incline, most likely. 

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Also, as much as you may want to discourage your kids and keep them with you on the lazy river all day, you don't want to spoil their fun, make them unnecessarily fearful, and kill their sense of adventure.

For many tweens and teens, conquering these rides is like a rite of passage -- something they can tell friends about as they head back to school.  

After watching countless other riders scream, cheer, and arrive safely at the bottom, the Schwabs probably viewed this as perfectly safe for their son. We've all been there. We wish this family peace at this devastating time.

 

Image via Schlitterbahn/ Splash News; gofundme.com

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