Largest Water Slide in the World to Be Dismantled After Fatal Accident

Image: Mia Mercado/Gizmodo
Image: Mia Mercado/Gizmodo

A fatal accident three months ago has left a water park in Kansas City with no choice but to dismantle its star attraction. The 17-story tall Verrückt water slide has been inactive since the accident in August. “Verrückt will be decommissioned — closed permanently and the slide removed from the tower,” a statement to the Kansas City Star from the park read.

The Verrückt was considered the largest water slide in the world when it began operation at Schlitterbahn’s Kansas City Water Park in 2014. At 168 feet and 7 inches it towered over the rest of the water park and would be considered Kansas City’s fourth tallest building were it occupied. But it was also extremely dangerous.

It’s engineer, John Schooley, told Gizmodo he “was terrified” when he took the inaugural ride on the Verrückt and there were rumors of test riders going airborne. Those rumors proved false—it was just sandbags. Yet the reports made it clear that the carefully engineered slide demanded exact weights and careful balance of passengers on the raft in order to avoid accident.


In August of this year a 10-year-old boy, Caleb Schwab, was killed when his raft lifted off the slide and crashed into a metal beam. The boy had been at the front of the raft while heavier passengers were at the back, creating an imbalance that was further exacerbated by the combined weight of the three passengers being four pounds under the minimum weight requirement.

Kansas City police are still investigating Schwab’s death and the slide will remain intact until the police’s investigation has concluded.

[Kansas City Star]

Senior Consumer Tech Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.

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This is terrifying. But like so much else today, the comments on this story in my local paper are even more disheartening. They blame the boy, his parents and our society. They blame society for “wimping out” and saying the only reason this is happening is the boy who died was the son of a legislator. The discourse in this country is unbelievably sad. Not to be distasteful, but it’s all downhill from here.