Caleb Schwab’s parents are breaking their silence over the tragic death of their 10-year-old son on the Verruckt Waterslide at Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Caleb was on a raft that descended the waterslide when it flew off the platform, instantly killing him. He was with his 12-year-old brother, Nathan, when the incident occurred on the 168-foot slide. The young boy was decapitated in the process of his tragic death. Several witnesses have given their account of what unfolded, but the parents of Caleb Schwab haven’t spoken out about his death until now.
Caleb’s father, Kansas Rep. Scott Schwab, and his mother, Michele Schwab, spoke with ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday.
Scott Schwab describes the day as “six went to the park and five came back.” He, his wife, and their four sons went to Schlitterbahn for a day of fun on August 7, 2016. It was a day when admission was free for state legislators.
Caleb Schwab’s father shared that the boy and his bigger brother, Nathan, 12, were on their way up the Verruckt ride when he told them that “brothers stick together.” Caleb agreed with his dad.
“He said, ‘I know, Dad. I said, ‘Look at me. Brothers stick together.'”
As Caleb Schwab’s parents waited somewhere at the bottom of the slide waiting with two of their youngest sons, Nathan ran over to them extremely distressed after coming down the structure. Their mother recalls Nathan screaming, “He flew from the Verruckt, he flew from the Verruckt!”
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Michele Schwab wanted to get to her son, but a man wouldn’t let her get close enough to see what happened. He insisted that she not approach Caleb’s body.
”Trust me, you don’t want to go any further.’ I kind of knew in my mind that I shouldn’t see it, that I probably don’t want to see it.”
Scott Schwab was distraught and in complete shock. So much so that a caring park visitor had to confirm his worst fear.
“I said, ‘I just need to hear you say — is my son dead?’ and he just shook his head. I need to hear it from you… is my son dead? And he said, ‘Yes, your son’s dead.'”
In the months following Caleb Schwab’s death, his three brothers are comforted in watching videos of him. For his parents, it’s too still too heartbreaking. His father explained that one day he wants to see a video of his son and another day it’s too much to bear.
“There’s times when it’s like, I can’t look at that right now, and there’s other times when you can’t sleep and you want to look at it.”
Scott Schwab and his wife are grateful for the condolences and support they’ve received from people around the world over Caleb’s death.
“We have a box of greeting cards from around the world, and we just want people to know we’re grateful, and yeah, we’re still hurting, but we’re going to be OK.”
Caleb was affectionately called “Monkeybear” in the family because he so loved to snuggle. Michele Schwab misses “giving him hugs” the most.
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It was revealed in the interview that the Schwabs will receive an undisclosed amount in a settlement from Schlitterbahn and the Verruckt manufacturer. The money will go to Caleb’s brothers and attorneys who represented the family — Mike Rader and Todd Scharnhorst.
Attorneys for the Schwabs said that the family “continues to puruse claims against a Texas-based company, Henry & Sons, which constructed Verruckt, as well as claims against a consultant who evaluated the slide before being opened to the public.”
In the aftermath of Caleb Schwab’s death, it was announced in November that the Verruckt waterslide won’t ever be used again and would be dismantled.
[Featured Image by Charlie Riedel/AP Images]