Kansas City, Kansas — Caleb Schwab was a 10-year-old boy was suffered a horrific death while riding the World’s Largest Waterslide. The police investigation is still underway, but here are the 5 Fast Facts of what we know so far.
1Ten-Year-Old Caleb Schwab Was Decapitated in What is Being Described as a “Freak Accident”
Caleb Schwab was killed after a freak accident occurred on the Verrukt waterslide at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas.
Eye-witnesses have reported that the boy was thrown into the air after the raft accelerated over the second of two large drops on the slide, launching him into the safety nets that surround the slide. The impact of the collision would decapitate the ten-year-old.
Following this, blood is said to have appeared down the waterslide and Caleb’s body was found in the pool present at the end of the slide. Due to the speed in which the accident occurred, some details remain unclear.
2The Waterslide Where the Tragedy Occurred is the Largest in the World
The Verruckt waterslide, which first opened in 2014, is the largest of its kind in the entire world. It is 168 feet tall at its tallest and people are placed into a raft that takes them down the slide at speeds of almost 70 MPH, sending them up a second hump before dropping them down another 50ft drop into the pool at the bottom of the slide.
There were restrictions in place to use the ride, as the multi-person raft must a combined weight of at least 400lbs, and height restrictions are set to a minimum of 54 inches. However, there were no age restrictions.
3Caleb Was the Son of Kansas State Representative Scott Schwab, Who Was Visiting the Park with His Family on “Elected Official Day”
Caleb lived in Olathe, Kansas with his mother Michele and father Scott, along with three brothers. His father is a state representative for Kansas’s 49th district, a position he has held since 2008.
He was visiting the waterpark during Elected Official Day, which saw many other lawmakers from Kansas spending a Sunday afternoon there with their families. Each one was provided with free admission and free lunch.
4His Older Brother Just Avoided Riding Alongside Caleb as the Two Boys Were Too Light for the Ride – He Witnessed the Accident First-Hand
Caleb was waiting to ride the Verruckt with his 12-year-old brother Nate, but as the two children wouldn’t have made the 400lb weigh restriction, Caleb instead rode the ride with two adult women he had never met before.
The two were weighed beforehand but would not even make the limit with a third rider, as this was the raft’s maximum capacity, meaning the boys would need to take separate rafts.
Caleb would go first, and Nate is believed to have witnessed the accident as it occurred, after he is reported to have hysterically screamed to one of the workers
“I just saw my little brother die because of one of your attractions!”
5The Exact Cause of the Accident Remains Unknown Although an Investigation is Currently Underway
Details regarding the exact cause of the accident remain unclear. The ride recently passed a private inspection back in June 7, which was provided to the Associated Press by the Kansas Department of Labor.
Many believe that it could be something to do with the straps that were used in the raft. This involves two Velcro straps, one which crossed over the shoulder and a second that covers the waste similar to a seat belt.
This is an older style of safety straps that can deteriorate over time, and one eyewitness claimed that they were loose prior to the accident. Other reports claim that Caleb and the other two riders of the raft may have not been heavy enough, falling just short of the required 400lb restriction.
While currently unconfirmed, it is widely believed Caleb was launched from the raft, causing him to be decapitated due to the force in which he struck the surrounding safety nets, which may have been caused by the lack of proper safety straps or due to the combined weight of the riders.
An ongoing investigation continues, and will likely shed more light into the how the accident occurred.