AlexB

Verrückt Incident - Schlitterbahn, USA

42 posts in this topic

I swear we had a thread for this, but the only mention of the incident I can find is in the off topic thread.

This article appeared today - with the family of the boy fatally injured on Verruckt speaking publicly for the first time since the incident.

http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/parents-of-caleb-schwab-speak-for-first-time-about-horror-tragedy/news-story/110ef5ea31366cea840a4f3004c4b455

Quote

Parents of Caleb Schwab speak for first time about horror tragedy

February 14, 201712:38pm

Parents of boy killed on waterslide on the moment they found out their son had died

external?url=http%3A%2F%2Fcontent6.video
player

IT WAS the day the Schwab family changed forever.

Politician Scott Schwab, his wife Michele and their four sons decided to take up an admission-free offer for families of state legislators at a Kansas City water park on a warm summer day last year.

The family had only just arrived at the park when two of their sons, Caleb and Nathan, set off in search of the world’s tallest water slide: the Verruckt.

The 17-storey, 51-metre slide, named after the German word for “insane”, was famous for reaching speeds of up to 112km/h. Riders on a raft were sent up a hump, before a 15-metre drop into a swimming pool.

But this adventure, on August 5 last year, ended with unspeakable tragedy. In a horrific accident, 10-year-old Caleb was killed when his raft went airborne and he was decapitated.

Six months later, the devastated Schwabs has spoken for the first time about that fateful day at Schlitterbahn Kansas City water park.

Caleb Schwab was killed instantly.

Caleb Schwab was killed instantly.Source:Supplied

Caleb (second from right) with his family, including brother Nathan (right).

Caleb (second from right) with his family, including brother Nathan (right).Source:Supplied

“Six went to the park, and five came back,” Scott Schwab told Good Morning America in a harrowing new interview.

The politician recalled the moment Caleb and Nathan headed off with friends to check out the Verruckt.

“Before they took off, I said, ‘Brothers stick together,’” Mr Schwab said. “He (Caleb) said, ‘I know, Dad’.”

 

Nathan had been waiting at the bottom of the slide when Caleb was killed. The first their parents knew something had happened was when Nathan went running back to find them.

“He was screaming: ‘He flew from Verruckt! He flew from Verruckt!’” Michele Schwab told GMA.

She said they rushed to the scene, where a man tried to stop her from getting too close. “He just kept saying, ‘Trust me, you don’t want to go any further’,” she said.

Two other women sharing Caleb’s raft were injured but survived.

Two other women sharing Caleb’s raft were injured but survived.Source:Supplied

Caleb was killed when his raft became airborne.

Caleb was killed when his raft became airborne.Source:Supplied

Mr Schwab said he was in such disbelief, he demanded the man confirm Caleb was dead.

“I said, ‘I just need to hear you say, is my son dead?’ and he just shook his head,” Mr Schwab said. “‘I need to hear it from you, is he dead?’

“And he said, ‘Yes, your son’s dead’.”

It is understood the raft Caleb was riding with two other women became airborne due to uneven weight distribution. One of the women suffered a broken jaw and the other rider had a broken bone in her face.

News of Caleb’s death, and the terrible scenes of his raft flying into the air, made headlines around the world after the August 5 incident. It also prompted thrillseekers to share their own safety concerns and hairy experiences on the Verruckt.

The Verruckt was considered the biggest water slide in the world. Picture: AP/Charlie Riedel, File

The Verruckt was considered the biggest water slide in the world. Picture: AP/Charlie Riedel, FileSource:AP

Scott Schwab, pictured here with Caleb, and his wife agreed to the interview to thank wellwishers for their support.

Scott Schwab, pictured here with Caleb, and his wife agreed to the interview to thank wellwishers for their support.Source:AP

Schlitterbahn Kansas City was shut down for inspection after the incident and later reopened, but the Verruckt has been remained closed indefinitely.

The Schwab family has since reached a wrongful death settlement with Schlitterbahn’s owners and the manufacturer of the raft.

“It’s an accident, but there’s an accounting because someone was negligent,” Scott Schwab told GMA.

“We have a box of greeting cards from around the world, and we just want people to know that one, we’re thankful. And yeah, we’re still hurting, but we’re going to be OK.”

 

Edited by Roachie

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This is truely one of those bizarre and tragic accidents that it will be interesting to know the full details of should they ever be released. 

What shits me though is including those testing photos. Does the article not have enough impact already? I hate the implication that they are photos of the boys raft flying off the slide. 

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Will admit, i didn't look too closely, and wasn't aware they were testing photos. I thought they must have been amateur photos \ stills from a video of the incident - so you're 100% right about the misleading nature.

Edited by AlexB

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7 minutes ago, djrappa said:

This is truely one of those bizarre and tragic accidents that it will be interesting to know the full details of should they ever be released. 

What shits me though is including those testing photos. Does the article not have enough impact already? I hate the implication that they are photos of the boys raft flying off the slide. 

Sadly it's more than an implication; stupid news.com.au actually falsely states it in the article - 'News of Caleb’s death, and the terrible scenes of his raft flying into the air, made headlines around the world'.

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I think people are getting confused here.

DW_Slider_XLDesktop_Super_Tubes_Hydrocoaster.thumb.jpg.9874a44d1e50c9b7a2d4ac21c1e3be12.jpg

verruckt_2.thumb.jpg.ef19f7767cda3c5d10b4e5e18596a9b9.jpg

 

Hydrocoaster & Verruckt have a similar netting system.

 

 

 

This photo is after the accident.  You can see the bars that hold up the netting are now bent.

ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.thumb.jpg.e15da4d9dc6155300112a2af94dd5037.jpg

Edited by YLFATEEKS

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So the netting was on there when the accident happened?

 

While I did hear about this, I don't really know the details.

 

The slide does look dodgy and given there is nothing to hold you down, getting airborne looks like a reasonable outcome.

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Thanks Skeet. I never looked at Verruckt that closely TBH - i read about it being built and then I read about the accident and left it at that.

So the poor kid was 'decapitated' - on what? surely these 'net hoops' aren't solid steel...?

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7 minutes ago, AlexB said:

So the poor kid was 'decapitated' - on what? surely these 'net hoops' aren't solid steel...?

That's what I was thinking, surely that'd be bent more that what the picture shows if the support bar(s) were what did the damage.  

 

The whole netting system looks like a cheap after thought.  The whole thing just looks dangerous, I'm surprised it was allowed to operate.  

 

Coming up the hump at speed it would only take a direct wind into them to lift the front as the raft comes over the hump.  Once the air gets underneath it's air-time.

Edited by mission

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13 minutes ago, AlexB said:

Thanks Skeet. I never looked at Verruckt that closely TBH - i read about it being built and then I read about the accident and left it at that.

So the poor kid was 'decapitated' - on what? surely these 'net hoops' aren't solid steel...?

At the right speed the copper in headphones can decapitate someone. That's flimsy copper so I wouldn't put it past the mesh to do the same. 

Plus, be may have hit the metal and snapped his neck backwards and severed it that way. 

Edited by reanimated35

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They installed the netting after boats started flying off during testing. I'm sure it's already known by a few on here, but for those who don't the reason this happened is because the weight on the raft was not properly distributed. Three people per raft, no more than 550 pounds of people per raft, the kid (74 pounds) was on a raft with two others, one weighing 197 pounds, the other 275 pounds, he should have been seated between the people but instead was put in the front hence the raft becoming airborne and connecting with the netting and the metal loops that held it up.

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Ok some important info for those that don't know. 

 

The photos are from initial testing. After that they completely reprofiled the airtime hill to be much less extreme. 

 

The nets were added and it's believed they are what killed him. 

The poster above that stated that if you added nets that could be just as dangerous was eerily accurate!

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if the nets weren't made of metal he might have survived. they should have used rope, shade cloth or nylon netting the one you find in them springfree trampolines. they are very elastic i know from experience i practically jumped right into one once and got bounced back.

Edited by bladex

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I think the issue is the support poles and you're going to need those to keep it off the slide. 

 

The safer way would be to be to suspend the net from higher posts but that obviously would be a lot more expensive. 

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I think pretty much any rope / line of any type would be fatal if caught around the face/neck at 120k's. My brother suffered a nasty deep slice under his neck from riding into a rope washing line on a bicycle when he was young. Wasn't on a hill and was riding a mountain bike, so would exactly be breaking the sound barrier, but still did a phenomenal amount of damage.

A better idea might have been to have a catch net under the ride - like the net under a trapeze.(or you know.. engineer the ride to people can't come off it!)

Interesting that it ran for 2 years without this happening, so must have a been some contributing factors. There's comments from witnesses saying he flew out of the raft into the netting which is how he was so badly injured, however the other two people in the raft suffered a broken jaw and broken ribs, so its not like it was a single restraint failure ejecting 1 rider. Obviously something happened to the raft itself.

It would appear the raft was fully laden weight wise, it was just 4 pounds under the max weight, which i guess would have increased the speed going down the main hill, but it should have had a counter effect going up the hill and then the amount of air over the hump.

 

Edited by elemist

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56 minutes ago, bladex said:

if the nets weren't made of metal he might have survived. they should have used rope, shade cloth or nylon netting the one you find in them springfree trampolines. they are very elastic i know from experience i practically jumped right into one once and got bounced back.

Did you jump into it head first at 100km/h??

the simple fact is your head or neck isn't designed to be colliding with anything at that speed. 

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Being pushed into the netting is going to catch your head while the raft continues below. I can imagine the worse case of whiplash ever, even if you didnt get caught up on anything solid. If there are restraints, it doesnt take much to visualise how someone could have their neck broken or worse. 

The loading sounds like the major safety aspect. Have the weight distribution towards the front and youd think it would keep the nose down.

Edited by Levithian

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