The Verruckt is the tallest water slide in the world, towering 168-feet over Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City.
It was beset by problems during construction and testing, with the rafts people were supposed to ride down on flying off the thing.
But after several changes to the ride and the installation of safety netting, it opened to the public.
On Sunday, it claimed the life of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab, the son of a Kansas state legislator. In an ironic twist, the park was hosting ‘Elected Officials Day’ and was populated by the state’s legislators and their families.
Police did not say exactly how Schwab died, but did confirm it was on the Verruckt, which derives its name from the German word for insane.
From The Washington Post:
But this isn’t the first time there have been safety concerns over the slide. Before it opened two years ago, the Verruckt had to be partially torn down and redesigned. According to USA Today, the changes were made after rafts flew off the slide at high speeds during test rides.
“It’s dangerous, but it’s a safe dangerous now,” ride co-creator and Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry told the newspaper in July 2014. “Schlitterbahn is a family water park, but this isn’t a family ride. It’s for the thrill seekers of the world, people into extreme adventure.”
The father of Caleb, Rep. Scott Schwab, released a statement on Sunday.
“Since the day he was born, he brought abundant joy to our family and all those he came in contact with,” the statement said. “As we try to mend our home with him no longer with us, we are comforted knowing he believed in our Savior Jesus, and they are forever together now. We will see him another day.”
After the accident, people at the park reported that the harnesses for the ride were not functioning properly on Sunday.
KSHB reported that “more than one water park guest” said the harness on the ride was not working before the incident.
“A lady in front of me said that multiple times she rode the ride today, the Verruckt, and that the front harness did not work any of the times that she rode it,” Jessica Lundquist told the TV station.
The park is now closed while officials investigate.