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Riders say straps came loose on Verruckt

Posted: 8:46 PM, Aug 09, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-11 18:10:16-04

As the investigation into the death of Caleb Schwab continues, some questions remain unanswered. 

The 10-year-old boy was killed Sunday afternoon while riding the world’s tallest water slide, Verruckt, at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Water Park. 

Kansas City, Kansas police said Schwab died of a neck injury. Police said he was found dead in the pool at the end of the water ride. 

"It really hit home,” said Raul Duenas, a father to a 12-year-old. 

Three weeks ago, Duenas spent the day at Schlitterbahn with his family. He and his friend decided to ride Verruckt. When he got on the ride, Duenas said he started to question its safety features. 

“I kind of looked at the straps they were using and [thought it was] kinda fishy, it was just [a hook and loop],” he said. 

During the ride, Duenas said his shoulder strap came undone and he had to grip the handles by his legs to hold on. 

“We came down that first hill and the strap just came off, completely,” said Duenas. “It just flew off so I had to grab ahold of the straps that they had on the raft to hold myself down because we still had that other hill to go over.” 

Video courtesy Raul Duenas

"I just saw it come off so I just gripped the sides harder,” 14-year-old Emma Day told 41 Action News. 

Day and her cousin recently rode the Verruckt together. Both said their straps also came undone during the ride. 

"We didn’t think much of it because we told the people at the bottom, that stand on the bottom that get you out of the thing,” said Jillian Swadley. 

Schlitterbahn has released limited information since Sunday afternoon. However, the company continues to say safety is its “top priority” and the rides are inspected daily. 

The water park is scheduled to reopen Wednesday at noon. The Verruckt will remain closed for the rest of the season and until the investigation is completed. 

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Ariel Rothfield can be reached at  Ariel.Rothfield@KSHB.com.

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