Mum of boy decapitated on ‘world’s tallest waterslide’ had to be held back
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The mother of a boy who was killed while going down the 'world's tallest waterslide' had to be stopped from getting too close by someone who told her she didn't want to see what had happened.
Seven years ago today (7 August), 10-year-old Caleb Schwab died at the Schlitterbahn waterpark in Kansas after his family had visited when offered free entry.
At the time, the waterpark boasted that it had the world's tallest waterslide, the Verrückt, and Caleb and his brother Nathan both wanted to ride it.
However, after promising their parents they'd stick together they were split up by a ride operator who was trying to meet weight requirements on the three-person rafts slide riders went down on.
Nathan went first without incident but when Caleb was sent down after him on a raft with two strangers, tragedy struck.
Travelling at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour and at the front of the raft, Caleb was thrown out from the raft following the first drop and hit the ride's safety netting at such a high speed that he was decapitated and died instantly.
Nathan was the one who had to run and tell his parents what had happened, and in an interview with ABC News, the boy's mother Michelle remembered that when she rushed over people stopped her from getting too close.
"There was a gentleman who wouldn’t allow me to come close enough to see what was going on, and he just kept saying, ‘Trust me, you don’t want to go any further'," Michelle Schwab said of the aftermath.
"I kind of knew in my mind that I shouldn’t see it, that I probably don’t want to see it."
Caleb's father Scott asked one of the waterpark employees to tell him honestly what had happened and that he needed to hear whether his son was dead or not.
He remembered someone answering him directly to tell him that Caleb had indeed died.
The Verrückt was closed down immediately and never reopened, while the Schlitterbahn waterpark closed its doors for the last time in September 2018, two years and a month after Caleb's death.
In the end, the Schwab family received a settlement of $20 million (£15.6 million) from the waterpark owners, while the other two who were on the raft with Caleb were also paid settlement fees after suffering injuries themselves.
There had been charges made against the owners, the ride designer and the construction company including second degree murder but they were dismissed by a judge in 2019 over concerns that the grand jury had been 'improperly influenced' by being shown inadmissible evidence.