Brother of boy decapitated on 'World's Tallest Waterslide' had to tell parents what happened

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

The brother of the boy who was decapitated on the "World's Tallest Waterslide" had to tell his parents what he had just seen.

Located within the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, the colossal Verrückt, meaning "insane" in German, once proudly held the title of the world's tallest waterslide, standing at a breathtaking height of nearly 169 feet.

Surpassing even the grandeur of Niagara Falls in its stature, this record-breaking attraction offered daring park visitors the chance to hurtle down a 17-story vertical chute at an astonishing speed of 70 miles per hour.

Yet, the exhilarating adventure took a devastating turn when a heart-wrenching incident claimed the life of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab on August 7, 2016.

Caleb, part of the Schwab family renowned for their involvement in the Kansas House of Representatives as Republican members, was enjoying a visit to the water park on Elected Officials Day, gaining free admission as a courtesy from the park.

Excitement filled the air as Caleb and his 12-year-old brother embarked on the ride. The siblings were separated, with Nathan taking the plunge ahead of Caleb and his two sisters.

An extensive investigation later revealed that the raft carrying Caleb became "airborne," propelling the young boy into the netting above the slide. Tragically, this collision resulted in Caleb's immediate decapitation, abruptly ending his young life.

Tragically, 12-year-old Nathan witnessed the entire thing and had the harrowing job of telling his parents about the traumatic experience, as per ABC News.

The boys' mother, Michelle Schwab, said: "[Nathan] was screaming, 'He flew from the Verrückt, he flew from the Verrückt.'"

She added: "There was a gentleman who wouldn’t allow me to come close enough to see what was going on, and he just kept saying, 'Trust me, you don’t want to go any further'. I kind of knew in my mind that I shouldn’t see it, that I probably don’t want to see it."

As park staff rushed to his aid, Caleb's lifeless body floated in the slide's pool. Quick action was taken as emergency services were summoned, and the area was cordoned off to shield other park-goers from the distressing scene.

In response to the tragedy, the park released a solemn statement, expressing: "In our five decades of creating a space for families and friends to gather, we have never encountered such a devastating incident. The well-being of our staff and guests remains our utmost priority," as reported by ABC News.

"Ensuring safety has always been our foremost concern. We are dedicated to upholding effective guidelines that enhance the safety of both guests and staff members. Our safety procedures continue to be under review," Schlitterbahn added.

The tragedy has since been the subject of a documentary titled The World's Tallest Water Slide Was a Terrible, Tragic Idea, which is available to watch on YouTube.

The film, clocking in at under ten minutes, unveiled a tale of "gross negligence, lax state regulations, and the consequences of hubris," as detailed by the publication.

Director Nathan Truesdell, a filmmaker from Missouri, was captivated by the story after encountering it in the news. Initially dismissing it as a "freak accident," he delved deeper and recognized the intricate layers of the narrative. "I soon realized the complexity of this tale, and how anyone who experienced that slide could have met the same fate," Truesdell shared.

A grand jury bought charges of second-degree murder against Schlitterbahn's co-owner Jeff Henry and senior designer of the slide John Schooley.

After protracted legal battles, the Schwab family received substantial settlements amounting to nearly $20 million from the involved companies, according to court documents.

Featured image credit: Scott T. Smith/Getty

Brother of boy decapitated on 'World's Tallest Waterslide' had to tell parents what happened

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

The brother of the boy who was decapitated on the "World's Tallest Waterslide" had to tell his parents what he had just seen.

Located within the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, the colossal Verrückt, meaning "insane" in German, once proudly held the title of the world's tallest waterslide, standing at a breathtaking height of nearly 169 feet.

Surpassing even the grandeur of Niagara Falls in its stature, this record-breaking attraction offered daring park visitors the chance to hurtle down a 17-story vertical chute at an astonishing speed of 70 miles per hour.

Yet, the exhilarating adventure took a devastating turn when a heart-wrenching incident claimed the life of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab on August 7, 2016.

Caleb, part of the Schwab family renowned for their involvement in the Kansas House of Representatives as Republican members, was enjoying a visit to the water park on Elected Officials Day, gaining free admission as a courtesy from the park.

Excitement filled the air as Caleb and his 12-year-old brother embarked on the ride. The siblings were separated, with Nathan taking the plunge ahead of Caleb and his two sisters.

An extensive investigation later revealed that the raft carrying Caleb became "airborne," propelling the young boy into the netting above the slide. Tragically, this collision resulted in Caleb's immediate decapitation, abruptly ending his young life.

Tragically, 12-year-old Nathan witnessed the entire thing and had the harrowing job of telling his parents about the traumatic experience, as per ABC News.

The boys' mother, Michelle Schwab, said: "[Nathan] was screaming, 'He flew from the Verrückt, he flew from the Verrückt.'"

She added: "There was a gentleman who wouldn’t allow me to come close enough to see what was going on, and he just kept saying, 'Trust me, you don’t want to go any further'. I kind of knew in my mind that I shouldn’t see it, that I probably don’t want to see it."

As park staff rushed to his aid, Caleb's lifeless body floated in the slide's pool. Quick action was taken as emergency services were summoned, and the area was cordoned off to shield other park-goers from the distressing scene.

In response to the tragedy, the park released a solemn statement, expressing: "In our five decades of creating a space for families and friends to gather, we have never encountered such a devastating incident. The well-being of our staff and guests remains our utmost priority," as reported by ABC News.

"Ensuring safety has always been our foremost concern. We are dedicated to upholding effective guidelines that enhance the safety of both guests and staff members. Our safety procedures continue to be under review," Schlitterbahn added.

The tragedy has since been the subject of a documentary titled The World's Tallest Water Slide Was a Terrible, Tragic Idea, which is available to watch on YouTube.

The film, clocking in at under ten minutes, unveiled a tale of "gross negligence, lax state regulations, and the consequences of hubris," as detailed by the publication.

Director Nathan Truesdell, a filmmaker from Missouri, was captivated by the story after encountering it in the news. Initially dismissing it as a "freak accident," he delved deeper and recognized the intricate layers of the narrative. "I soon realized the complexity of this tale, and how anyone who experienced that slide could have met the same fate," Truesdell shared.

A grand jury bought charges of second-degree murder against Schlitterbahn's co-owner Jeff Henry and senior designer of the slide John Schooley.

After protracted legal battles, the Schwab family received substantial settlements amounting to nearly $20 million from the involved companies, according to court documents.

Featured image credit: Scott T. Smith/Getty