KCK police say 10-year-old died of neck injury at Schlitterbahn

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department released new information on Monday on the death investigation at Schlitterbahn Water Park.

KCK police said Caleb Schwab was 1 of 3 passengers riding in a boat on the Verruckt Water Slide on Sunday, August 7. An off-duty officer working at Schlitterbahn notified police dispatch an incident had occurred on the Verruckt Water Slide, and assistance was needed.

The Kansas City, Kansas Police and Fire Departments responded to the scene. Police said they found Caleb dead from a fatal neck injury.

Police said the two other adult female riders in the boat sustained minor facial injuries and were transported and treated at area hospitals. They were not related to the victim.

Police also wrote in the news release:

"The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department would like to express our sincere condolences to the Schwab Family on the tragic loss of their son Caleb Schwab. The family will be in our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time."

KCK police said the incident is still under investigation. 

Schlitterbahn announced it will reopen on Wednesday at noon. The news release said: 

"Here at Schlitterbahn we continue to pray and keep in our thoughts everyone impacted by the tragic events on Sunday and we are keeping the Schwab family in our prayers. A limited portion of our Kansas City park will open for guests at noon on Wednesday. Verrückt will not re-open for the remainder of the season. For more information visit our website."

Schlitterbahn to reopen Wednesday

No federal oversight of amusement park rides

In Kansas, the Department of Labor oversees amusement parks.

The state requires Schlitterbahn be self-inspected by a qualified inspector at least every 12 months. Neither park nor state officials would elaborate on who inspects or what he or she’s qualifications entail.

Deborah A.P. Hersman is the President and CEO of the National Safety Council. She said there is room for improvement when it comes to regulation.

"The reality is that there are no federal regulations or even reporting requirements for amusement parks or even reporting requirements for amusement parks or waterparks. It's really up to the operation the manufacturer of the rides and to the state and local governments to conduct oversight,” Hersman told NBC News.

Questions surround inspections and regulations

In a statement to 41 Action News, a spokesperson for the Department of Labor said, “The Kansas Department of Labor and Secretary Lana Gordon would like to express their deepest sympathies to the Schwab Family during this incredibly difficult time. KDOL is reviewing the matter and will exercise appropriate authority under relevant Kansas statute and administrative regulations, as they pertain to public safety.”

On Tuesday, the Kansas Department of Labor released the following statement: 

"The Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) and Secretary Lana Gordon wish to extend our continued thoughts and prayers to the Schwab family during this incredibly difficult time.

Safety reviews and regulatory compliances fall to various entities. State law and regulations require that amusement parks perform annual safety inspections by safety officials licensed by the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials. KDOL has the authority to “conduct random” inspections of the records and certificates of inspection, along with any other documentation related to statutory compliance.

All occurrences of serious injury resulting from the operation of an amusement ride require that the ride be immediately discontinued by the park pending further inspection. KDOL is acting to ensure full compliance with this and other provisions of the act and associated administrative regulations.

KDOL has requested documentation from Kansas Schlitterbahn Water Park to ensure all safety requirements have been followed."

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