Brother of boy decapitated on 'world's tallest waterslide' had to tell his parents what happened
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What should have been a day of fun at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas became a tragic event after 10-year-old Caleb Schwab lost his life.
One person who was left traumatised from the event was Caleb's older brother, Nathan, who had the difficult job of explaining to his parents what he'd just seen happen on the ride the pair were so excited to go on.
The ride in question, called Verrückt, translated from German as 'Insane', saw riders plummet down the almost vertical 17-story chute - measuring in as taller than Niagara Falls.
Caleb, Nathan and their family were invited to Schlitterbahn Waterpark on August 7 2016 as part of an 'Elected Officials Day'. Father, Scott, and the rest of the Schwab family were given free admission.
As one of five Schlitterbahn waterparks in the country, the park, its 14 waterslides and two pools were a popular attraction in the area.
Scott recalled how excited Caleb was to ride the world's tallest waterslide, with Caleb and brother Nathan heading straight for the line. Before they ran off to the ride, Scott reminded the boys that 'brothers stick together', to which Caleb responded 'I know, Dad'.
Nathan and Caleb were set to ride the Verrückt waterslide together, but ride operators split them up so that they could meet the weight requirements for the waterslide rafts. Nathan rode first with two other strangers who met the weight requirement and eagerly waited at the bottom for his younger brother after experiencing the thrilling ride.
Meanwhile, Caleb boarded the front of a three-person raft with two female adult strangers. This is when Caleb took the fatal plunge.
The young boy was travelling at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour and was thrown from the raft, hitting the safety netting at such speed that he was decapitated and killed instantly on impact.
Once Nathan had seen what happened, he ran straight to his parents in hysterics.
“[Nathan] was screaming, ‘He flew from the Verrückt, he flew from the Verrückt,'” Michelle, mother of the boys, told to ABC News.
Waterpark staff were quickly on the scene after reports of a loud boom and an injured boy on the ride. They arrived to see the shocking discovery of Caleb Schwab's body floating in the pool at the bottom of the slide.
The two females riding with Caleb suffered facial injuries including a broken jaw but survived the impact.
“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,'” Michele Schwab told to ABC News. “I kind of knew in my mind that I shouldn’t see it, that I probably don’t want to see it.”
Scott Schwab asked one of the waterpark employees to tell him honestly whether his son was dead to which he responded with the horrific news.
The deathly ride first came about in 2012 when Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry teamed forces with senior designer John Schooley to construct the Verrückt in hopes to secure a Guinness World Record.
Both Henry and Schooley were subsequently indicted on 'charges of aggravated battery, aggravated endangerment of a child, interference with law enforcement, and involuntary manslaughter' following Caleb's untimely death.
However, the pair, who had allegedly skipped 'fundamental steps in the design process' and relied 'almost entirely on crude trial-and-error methods' in regards to safety testing were later dismissed of the charges.
The Schlitterbahn Water Park was shut down and the Verrückt was completely demolished.