Caleb Schwab, the 10-year-old son of Kansas Congressman Scott Schwab, died from injuries he sustained in an amusement park accident the afternoon of August 7, 2016. According to a 41 Action News report, the boy died after he was decapitated while riding on the Verruckt at the Schlitterbahn water park. More than one guest at the water park told 41 Action News that the harness on the ride was not working earlier in the day. The Kansas City Police Department is investigating the death. Officials said Caleb suffered a fatal neck injury. The water park shut down and officials said they have closed the ride pending a complete investigation.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Caleb Schwab for their devastating loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Ride Riddled with Controversy
The Verruckt, about 17 stories high and more than 168 feet tall, is the world’s tallest water slide and has faced quite a bit of controversy. There were serious concerns about its safety even before it was finished. The park delayed the opening of the slide at least four times.
According to the report, the slide had issues even during the testing phase including problems with the conveyor system, gearbox and shafts. The angle of the slide was even altered because rafts were flying off the slide. Riders must be at least 54 inches tall to use the slide. One of the co-owners of the Schlitterbahn was quoted in the past talking about the Verruckt saying: “It’s dangerous, but it’s safe dangerous now.”
A thorough investigation will be needed in this case to determine if the harness was not working or if the ride was poorly designed or maintained in a manner that was not safe for guests and visitors. In this case, the boy’s family may have a wrongful death lawsuit against the amusement park and the ride’s owners.
A wrongful death claim is usually filed in cases where negligence or wrongdoing played a part in the decedent’s death. Such claims seek to secure not just monetary compensation, but also hold the at-fault parties accountable for their negligence or wrongdoing. An experienced amusement park injury lawyer who has successfully handled amusement park accidents will be able to advise victims or families regarding their legal rights and options.