A boy was tragically killed at a water park in Kansas City, Kansas, on Sunday.
NBC News reports that the incident happened at Schlitterbahn Water Park on a ride known as the Verruckt, known as the world’s tallest waterslide.
Park spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said the park has closed, pending an investigation. This is standard procedure any time an injury occurs at the theme park.
Kansas City Police Chief Terry Zeigler said officers are conducting an accidental death investigation. Police spokesman Cameron Morgan confirmed that the victim was a 12-year-old boy, but there weren’t any specifics surrounding how he died.
Verrickt is a German word for “insane” or “crazy.” The water park ride has a 169-foot drop and goes 65 mph. The waterslide has the slogan, “R U Insane?”
According to KCTV 5 News, the water park death resulted in park officials closing down the attraction immediately. Several agencies arrived on the scene when they got word that a boy was killed at the water park.
Prosapio told reporters in a news conference that the park’s rides are inspected daily and have quality control checks done by independent inspection agencies at the start of the season.
Schlitterbahn will be closed Monday for the duration of the investigation, park officials said. The Verruckt will be totally shut down until a full investigation is complete.
Although Kansas statute mandates that amusement rides be closed if serious injury or death occurs, it doesn’t specify slides as amusement rides.
In its wording, an amusement ride qualifies as “any mechanical or electrical device that carries or conveys passengers along, around or over a fixed or restricted route or course or within a defined area for the purpose of giving its passengers amusement, pleasure, thrills or excitement.”
Water slides, or slides in general, aren’t listed in amusement ride categories.
The boy who was killed at the water park hasn’t been identified. No other details have been released following his death.
Upon completion of the Verruckt slide, opening dates for the ride were delayed three times while additional safety testing procedures were put in place. It finally opened in July of 2014; its original launch date was set for May, 2014.
The Verruckt waterslide is 17-stories-tall and riders must walk up 264 steps before dropping down 168-feet.
Co-creator and co-owner of the Schlitterbahn franchise, Jeff Henry, explained that the Verruckt had “many issues on the engineering side.” He imparted that certain readings were off on various technical levels regarding air and water friction.
WATER PARK TRAGEDY Boy killed in accident on world”s tallest water slide https://t.co/aRI4GrlUe2 pic.twitter.com/ObRmZVXF5R
— The Truth 24 US (@TheTruth24US) August 8, 2016
Fox News reports that early tests involved rafts carrying sandbags that flew off the slide. This caused engineers to demolish half of the ride and reconstruct some angles at a cost of $1 million.
The appropriate weight and occupancy limits were instilled following several safety inspections before the water park slide was opened to the public. As the guidelines explicitly state, riders are allowed on at a single time and the total weight limit is 550 pounds.
Prosapio issued a statement Sunday after the boy’s tragic death.
“We are saddened to share that a young boy died on Verruckt this afternoon,” she said. “Given that safety is our first priority, we have closed our Kansas City park and we have closed the ride pending a full investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”
12-year-old killed on world’s tallest water slide… https://t.co/9VXADkC0YY
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) August 8, 2016
It’s not disclosed by investigators exactly how the boy was killed on the waterslide at Schlitterbahn Water Park. No information on whether the child fell from a high altitude where the slide crests was released.
[Photo via Shutterstock]