Kansas Dept. of Labor releases statement on boy's death at Schlitterbahn

Carla Harmon
August 11, 2016

Caleb Schwab was riding with two adult women, to whom he was not related, police said. The Verrückt - German for "insane" - will remain closed.

Caleb Schwab suffered a fatal neck injury while riding the Verrückt water slide at Kansas Schlitterbahn Water Park Sunday.

Authorities still aren't certain of the circumstances that surrounded the accident, but police officials said Monday night that a neck injury directly led to his death.

Police spokesman Officer Cameron Morgan says the boy died Sunday at the Schlitterbahn Water Park.

The park is tentatively set to reopen on Wednesday while the water slide remains closed.

He said he had to grip handles by his legs to hold on and told park staff what happened. Schwab was found dead in the pool at the bottom of the slide. One suffered a broken jaw, and the other a broken bone in her face and had to have stitches in her eye, according to the local news station. That age requirement is no longer posted on the park's website, though passengers must be at least 4 feet, 6 inches tall and the combined weight of the passengers in the raft must fall between 400 and 550 pounds.

PHOTO:In this July 9, 2014 file photo, riders are propelled by jets of water as they go over a hump while riding a water slide called "Verruckt" at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kan.

It's unclear what point Caleb was injured on the ride, where at the top of the first 17-story drop or along its descending path or second 55-foot tall rise.

One witness reported said the son of a Kansas state legislator apeared to have been decapitated after flying off a waterslide and hitting a safety net.

"They certainly have the knowledge and expertise and they have to be involved in this investigation definitely, since it's in their best interest as well", said Pettey, a Democrat.

Caleb Schwab was the son of Scott Schwab, a state representative who brought his son to an elected officials event at the park.

House Speaker Ray Merrick told the Kansas City Star Schwab's family was "the center of his world".

Regulations adopted by the department in May 2010 require only that the owners of permanent amusement rides retain records for them for the state's possible inspection, but only for a single year.

Police are investigating the incident as a civil rather than criminal matter.

A spokesperson for the family, Pastor Clint Sprague, told ABC 7 that the family is heartbroken to have lost Caleb, who Sprague said loved sports, his parents, Jesus, and giving hugs. The ride stands 168-feet high at its tallest point and propels rafts with 2-3 riders at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour.

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