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Kansas agency plans to audit Schlitterban water park where 10-year-old boy decapitated in 2016

A Kansas agency plans to conduct a full audit of the inspection records at Schlitterban water park, where a 10-year-old boy was decapitated, before it can reopens this spring. 

The state Department of Labor said it will review reports from daily inspections of rides by the staff at the Kansas City water park before it can reopen for the season on May 25. 

This comes after criminal charges were filed over the decapitation of Caleb Schwab, who was killed while riding the world’s tallest waterslide there in the summer of 2016. 

A state law enacted last year as a result of his death requires amusement parks to keep daily reports on their rides and give them annual inspections. 

A grand jury issued indictments with multiple criminal charges against the park, the construction company the built the giant slide, former park operations director Tyler Austin Miles, the ride’s co-designer John Timothy Schooley and the park’s co-owner Jeffrey Wayne Henry. 

 A Kansas agency plans to conduct a full audit of the inspection records at Schlitterban water park, where a 10-year-old boy was decapitated, before it can reopens this spring. The ride is pictured in a 2014 file photo 

The state Department of Labor said it will review reports from daily inspections of rides by the staff at the Kansas City water park before it can reopen for the season on May 25.Ride designer Jeffrey Henry is pictured looking at the ride in a 2014 file photo 

The state Department of Labor said it will review reports from daily inspections of rides by the staff at the Kansas City water park before it can reopen for the season on May 25.Ride designer Jeffrey Henry is pictured looking at the ride in a 2014 file photo 

This comes after criminal charges were filed over the decapitation of Caleb Schwab, who was killed while riding the world's tallest waterslide there in the summer of 2016 

This comes after criminal charges were filed over the decapitation of Caleb Schwab, who was killed while riding the world’s tallest waterslide there in the summer of 2016 

Henry, Schooley and the construction company face one felony count of second-degree murder and Miles and the park, one count of involuntary manslaughter, over Caleb’s death. 

The raft the boy was riding on the 17-story Verruckt ride went airborne and hit an overhead loop. 

State law allows parks to have their own staff do daily inspections and to have private inspectors do the annual inspections, rather than state inspectors. 

The inspectors doing the annual reviews must be either licensed engineers with two years’ experience with amusement rides, have five years’ experience in inspecting rides or have been certified by one of three industry groups.

Hersh said the audit will show whether the park has been conducting the required inspections and maintaining proper records on them as it prepares to reopen for the season.

‘They will have a notebook full of inspections,’ she said.

Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in a statement Tuesday that the latest indictment against Henry, Schooley and the construction company ‘is filled with information that we fully dispute.’

The company also posted a statement on its website that all park attractions are ‘thoroughly inspected daily’ by supervisors and managers.

Also, it said, before the park opens for the season, each ride has a thorough internal review and an inspection from ‘an independent third party.’ 

The statement said the park’s insurance provider also conducts annual inspections.

The audit will show whether the park has been conducting the required inspections and maintaining proper records on them as it prepares to reopen for the season

The audit will show whether the park has been conducting the required inspections and maintaining proper records on them as it prepares to reopen for the season

Jeffrey Wayne Henry in court on March 28

Former park operations director Tyler AUstin MIles

A grand jury issued indictments with multiple criminal charges against the park, the construction company the built the giant slide, former park operations director Tyler Austin Miles (right), the ride’s co-designer John Timothy Schooley and the park’s co-owner Jeffrey Wayne Henry (left)

Henry, Schooley and the construction company are charged with second-degree murder in connection with Caleb’s death, and Miles and the park are charged with involuntary manslaughter over it. 

The pair were indicted on a total of 20 felony charges.  

All are charged with multiple counts of aggravated battery and aggravated endangering a child in connection with injuries to other riders on the 17-story waterslide.

Miles was arrested last week and released from a Kansas jail on bond. jail in Wyandotte County, Kansas, on $50,000 bond. 

Henry was arrested Monday in Cameron County, Texas, and waived extradition to Kansas during a court hearing Wednesday. He will now remain in a Cameron County jail until he is picked up by officials from the state.  

The raft the boy was riding on the 17-story Verruckt ride went airborne and hit an overhead loop

The raft the boy was riding on the 17-story Verruckt ride went airborne and hit an overhead loop

As for Schooley, family attorney Kit Yam, of Houston, said he was traveling in Asia. Yam said Schooley is in the process of hiring a Kansas City-area attorney.

‘He is out of the country at this point on a business trip,’ Yam said.

Schlitterban itself also faces several other charges in connection to the 13 other people who were injured while riding the slide, which has since been shut down. 

The park described Caleb’s death as a ‘terrible and tragic accident’ in a statement.  

It says Henry, Schooley and Miles are ‘innocent’ and that the company runs a ‘safe operation.’

Caleb died when his raft went airborne and he hit an overhead loop.

It recently emerged that employees at the attraction warned executives about the water slide’s faulty brakes that failed at least 29 times.

Footage has also emerged of Henry saying the 170-foot Verrückta that took the life of Schwab, was the ‘safest ever ride built’ during an interview on Good Morning America. 

Investigators claim that while Henry and Miles knew that Verrückt was dangerous, they rushed to get the ride open, even replacing mathematical calculations with ‘crude trial-and-error methods’.

It also cites comments from Henry in which he plainly states that the slide is a ‘seriously dangerous piece of equipment’.

‘[Verrückt] could hurt me, it could kill me,’ Henry stated, according to the indictment. ‘There are things that we don’t know about it.’

‘Every day we learn more. I’ve seen what this one has done to the crash dummies and to the boats we sent down it…it’s complex, it’s fast, it’s mean.’

‘If we mess up, it could be the end. I could die going down this ride.’

It was Henry who came up with the idea for Verrückt, wanting to build a ride that would impress producers of the Xtreme Waterparks series on the Travel Channel, according to the indictment.

Henry designed the ride with his business partner Schooley, despite the fact that neither of them ‘had any credentials in mathematics, physics, or engineering’.

The pair raced to have the entire slide finished in just seven months, completing a prototype of the ambitious ride in just 36 days. 

It recently emerged that employees at the attraction warned executives about the water slide's faulty brakes that failed at least 29 times. Footage has also emerged of Henry saying the 170-foot Verrückta that took the life of Schwab, was the 'safest ever ride built' during an interview on Good Morning America

It recently emerged that employees at the attraction warned executives about the water slide’s faulty brakes that failed at least 29 times. Footage has also emerged of Henry saying the 170-foot Verrückta that took the life of Schwab, was the ‘safest ever ride built’ during an interview on Good Morning America

The Good Morning America interview from 2014 is pictured in which the pair say the ride is the 'safest ever built' 

The Good Morning America interview from 2014 is pictured in which the pair say the ride is the ‘safest ever built’ 

Schwab was decapitated when his raft collided with the hoops, and two women he was riding with suffered bone fractures and lacerations

Schwab was decapitated when his raft collided with the hoops, and two women he was riding with suffered bone fractures and lacerations

An engineering firm was then hired to test the slide’s safety just a week before its grand opening.

The tests showed that, when carrying a weight of 400 to 550lbs, the rafts on the slide were likely to go airborne.

This was especially dangerous as the slide was covered with a net suspended by metal hoops, meaning riders could knock into them if the raft went airborne.

The indictment notes that this is in violation of international standards that prohibit a ride from obstructing a rider’s path. It described the attraction as ‘a deadly weapon’.

‘Henry and Schooley did the opposite,’ the indictment states. ‘They installed metal bars directly across the known flight path.’

‘The presence of the overheard netting and support hoops speaks volumes about the designers’ extreme disregard for the value of human life.’

Schwab was decapitated when his raft collided with the hoops, and two women he was riding with suffered bone fractures and lacerations.

The indictment claims that Henry was well aware of this problem and tried to fix it before eventually ignoring it entirely. 

Verruckt, which is a German word for ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’, was named the world’s tallest water slide in 2014.

Although the slide is closed, it still remains standing due to a court order to facilitate investigation. 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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