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Designers of Lethal Waterslide Arrested

John Schooley and Jeffery Henry charged with second degree murder

Caleb+Schwab%2C+son+of+Kansas+lawmaker+Scott+Schwab%2C+died+after+going+on+the+Verruckt+waterslide.+Standing+at+17+stories+tall%2C+Verruckt+is+the+tallest+waterslide+in+the+world.
Caleb Schwab, son of Kansas lawmaker Scott Schwab, died after going on the Verruckt waterslide. Standing at 17 stories tall, Verruckt is the tallest waterslide in the world.

Caleb Schwab, son of Kansas lawmaker Scott Schwab, died after going on the Verruckt waterslide. Standing at 17 stories tall, Verruckt is the tallest waterslide in the world.

Photo by Keith Myers/Kansas City Star

Photo by Keith Myers/Kansas City Star

Caleb Schwab, son of Kansas lawmaker Scott Schwab, died after going on the Verruckt waterslide. Standing at 17 stories tall, Verruckt is the tallest waterslide in the world.

Emma Brisbois, BirdFeed Editor

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In the summer of 2016, the Verrückt waterslide made its debut at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City. Malfunctions in the ride grew common; these eventually caused the death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab. Designers of the lethal waterslide, John Schooley and co-owner of Schlitterbahn Jeffery Henry, are being prosecuted on charges of second degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated assault of a child.

The opening of the waterslide was pushed back multiple times, due to unsafe conditions and unbalanced physics of the ride. The ride, named the tallest waterslide in existence by the Guinness Book of World Records, attracted thrill seekers from across the nation. Many of those daredevils complained of the dangers of the ride such as broken shoulder straps, loose seatbelts and restraints that came loose during the ride.

On top of all this, there were errors in the ride that designers chose not to fix. Mathematical errors were acknowledged, but never repaired, causing many problems. After much testing, many rafts would continue to fly off of the slide after a second incline, making the ride unsafe to virtually everyone. There were numerous injuries on this ride including a concussion and a woman who slipped a spinal disk.

The previous events finally climaxed in the death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab, who was expelled from the raft, broke his neck and was very nearly decapitated. The rest of the riders on his raft were also seriously injured after the raft collided with the pole which held the net to the slide.

After this incident, investigators were called in and the suspected rushed construction and neglect of the laws of physics were confirmed. In fact, investigators determined that those responsible for designing the ride were not unqualified to do so. In fact, Jeffery Henry lacked not only a college degree; he didn’t even complete high school.

Former Director of Operations for Schlitterbahn, Tyler Austin Myles, was also found to have wiped out witness statements and lifeguard statements that painted the Verrückt in a bad light. He then coached the lifeguards into saying safer statements that left out crucial details of the danger of the ride.

Henry was taken into custody on March 26, 2018, after the grand jury’s indictment. John Schooley was out of the country when the decision was made. But as soon as his plane arrived from China, John Schooley was arrested in the Dallas Airport on April 2, 2018. Both men will stand trial this year.

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Emma Brisbois - Birdfeed Editor

Emma became a member of The Flightline in August of 2017. She is a junior this year involved in cheerleading and show choir. Outside of school she enjoys going to concerts. You can email her at [email protected]

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