Water slide that led to 10-year-old being decapitated in 2016 to finally be torn down

In 2016, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab was decapitated while he rode the water slide. The death led to criminal charges being filed against the company

                            Water slide that led to 10-year-old being decapitated in 2016 to finally be torn down
(Source:Getty Images)

A water park in Kansas has finally decided to demolish the giant water slide on which a 10-year-old boy tragically lost his life in 2016. It was reported that an attorney representing an affiliate of the Kansas City park Schlitterbahn, where the incident occurred, said on July 12 that the 17-storey Verruckt slide at the water park will start to be torn down a week after Labor Day (May 1).

Melanie Morgan, an attorney, said that the work on removing the slide should start in about three weeks from now. The Kansas City Park posted on Facebook that it got the approval from the court to demolish the deadly ride. In 2016, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab was decapitated while he rode the water slide. The death led to the company receiving criminal charges against five people that included the co-owner of Schlitterbahn.

The company said that the boy's death was a tragic accident. The park announced in May that it was going to reopen for the season in spite of them keeping almost two-thirds of the rides in the park closed after an audit found that they flouted regulations. Currently, there are six attractions in the park that are open for business. Eleven rides were closed after they were found to be in violation of state amusement park regulations that mostly had to do with record-keeping and safety signs.

The rides that the company had planned to initially keep closed in the park were all mentioned in the audit. The list included various slides, a surfing ride, and the Soaring Eagle ZipLine which is a "dry" ride that pulls the rides in a two-seat chair across the entire park about 100 feet above the ground.

The park also stated in it's Facebook post that it had spoken about the majority of the audit issues but has said that they want to let the state and local officials, inspectors, park staff, consultants, and attorneys finish "their process". The statement said: "Until that process is complete, we will not open the other rides. We are glad to say that we have addressed the bulk of the issues in the report and we are fully confident that our rides and park are safe and ready."

Officials in the city had promised back in March to audit the park's records after a grand jury issued the company multiple criminal indictments over the child's death. The Verruckt water slide was known to be the world's tallest slide. It started 168ft above the ground. Riders were put into inflatable rafts and stapped in with velcro. After they went down the first drop, the slide had another hump which was around 50ft tall.

This is where the boy lost his life after the raft became airborne and flew into the metal bars that support the netting. Two women who were also in the raft with him suffered serious injuries due to the collision. The boy's body was found at the end of the ride after the raft had reached the entry pool.

The 10-year-old was the son of state Rep. Scott Schwab from the Kansas City suburb of Olathe. His death was the one that made lawmakers in the state ensure that regulations for amusement park rides were more stringent in 2017. The co-owner of the Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, one of the slide's designers, the Kansas City park's former operations director and the company that built the slide will all face multiple felony charges. They have also all pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

On April 2, 2018, Jeffery Steven Henry, the co-owner of the Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts Park in Kansas City was arrested in the tragic death by decapitation of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab on one of the water slides in the park. Henry has revealed that he was suffering from drug problems and financial problems before the accident.

The man had been arrested in the past, once in 1994 and then again in 2007, for drug violations. The San Antonio Express-News secured divorce court documents that showed that his then-wife Mary Henry and he were caught possessing almost 17oz of marijuana, a revolver, a derringer, and more than $7,000 in cash in 1994.

Henry had pleaded to third-degree felony and was subsequently sentenced to three years of deferred adjudication probation. This was later canceled after just 16 months and then he was fined $10,000. He pleaded guilty to the 2nd arrest for the misdemeanor for possessing between 2-4oz of marijuana. He was fined $4,000 for this.

After this came a series of financial problems. Express-News reported that there was a disagreement between Henry and his brother, Gary Henry, along with their business partner, Schexnailder, over a new project they were working on which eventually led to the group filing for bankruptcy in spring 2017.

The group had wanted to expand North Padre Island and this led to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings that have been plaguing them since last year and this put the new development up for auction.

In the third time in his life, Henry, along with the ride designer John Schooley, have been charged with reckless 2nd-degree murder in the death of Caleb Schwab in August 2016. The child ended up being decapitated when his raft took flight while he was on the world's largest water slide, the 170-foot Verrückt.

The indictment has also noted that this was in direct violation of international standards that prohibits a ride from obstructing a rider's path. The indictment said that the attraction was a "deadly weapon".

The indictment states: "Henry and Schooley did the opposite. They installed metal bars directly across the known flight path. The presence of the overheard netting and support hoops speaks volumes about the designers' extreme disregard for the value of human life."

Ten-year-old Schwab was decapitated when the raft that he was in crashed into the hoops and the two women he was in the raft with suffered fractures to their bones and lacerations.

According to the indictment, Henry was very aware of the problem the ride had with it and that he tried to fix it before it was opened to the public. It was also claimed that he ignored the problem completely later.