Verrückt is set to become the world’s tallest water slide, but the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City had delayed the ride’s opening after test riders reportedly went airborne at the bottom of a 17-story drop.
The water slide was originally slated to open on May 23, just in time for the busy Memorial Day weekend, but will now be pushed back as park officials take apart the slide in an attempt to determine what’s causing the safety issues.
Verrückt, a word that means “insane” in German, is now slated to open in a few weeks. The ride stands 168 feet and 7 inches tall, and in April was certified as the world’s tallest water slide by Guinness World Records.
On the water slide, riders plummet 60 to 70 miles per hour while strapped into a four-person raft.
Schlitterbahn park officials downplayed the delay as a routine issue with a ride of such proportions.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind attraction, and there is a one-of-a-kind process for getting it ready,” said Layne Pitcher, marketing director for Schlitterbahn, which is near Kansas Speedway.
Pitcher said park officials would be “taking apart and putting back together” the slide.
While Schlitterbahn officials have not publicly commented on the problems with the Verrückt slide, some reports have suggested that the hump at the bottom of the initial drop was causing the raft to go airborne. There is a feature at the end of the ride that sends the raft into the air just before the conclusion, and it was not clear if the problem was here or whether a different part of the ride was sending riders into the air unintentionally.
While the reports are not verified, some area residents say they are concerned about the safety of the slide.
“Based upon their adjustments, I don’t think I’d let my kids on it now,” Kansas City parent Cassandra Lewis said.
Others were hesitant to try to world’s largest water slide, even after repairs are made.
“I would watch about 20 people first and depending on how it works out, I’d probably do it, yea,” one young man told WKRC.
But the company that operates the park has assured potential riders that the utmost precaution will go into the ride.
On the Schlitterblog, the company created a list of “Top 5 Misconceptions about the Verrückt,” noting:
“First of all, we built a scale model of the ride a year ago. That scale model built by our development team was tested, and the lessons learned in the test were incorporated into the design of the full scale Verrückt. This Spring Verrückt will undergo another round of extensive testing and the waterslide designer himself – Jeff Henry(one of the owners of Schlitterbahn) – will be among the first riders during testing. Schlitterbahn has invented numerous water rides, and we test each one long before any guest gets near it. When we open Verrückt it will have completed testing and be ready for those courageous enough to ride.”
Thrill seekers looking to ride the world’s largest water slide will have to wait another week or so. The Verrückt is scheduled to open June 5.