Tragedy struck the Schlitterbahn Kansas City Water Park on Sunday afternoon when Caleb Schwab, the 10-year-old son of Kansas state Rep. Scott Schwab, passed away while riding the world’s tallest waterslide. Officials have yet to provide specific details about what led to Caleb’s death.
Police were called to Schlitterbahn around 3:20 p.m. on Sunday, and spokeswoman Winter Prosapio confirmed the incident occurred on the Verrückt water slide (that’s German for “insane”). “Adventure seekers will be able to share this experience as they strap into a 3 person raft that will slide down a jaw dropping 168 foot 7 inch structure,” the park’s website boasts, “only to be blasted back up a second massive hill and then sent down yet another gut wrenching 50 foot drop for the ultimate in water slide thrills.”
A bystander, Leslie Castaneda, told KMBC 9 News Kansas City that she witnessed Caleb’s brother tell an employee, “I just saw my little brother die because of one of your attractions.” She added, “[The boy] looked skinny. He shouldn’t have been on that ride.” Castaneda also noted that “the thing that got me was there was no responders. They didn’t make any announcement.”
In a statement, Rep. Schwab and his wife Michele wrote that since the day Caleb was born, “he brought abundant joy to our family and all those he came in contact with… Your continued prayers are welcome and appreciated. We appreciate your understanding of our family’s need for privacy during this difficult time of grieving.” Schlitterbahn will remain closed on Monday.