Schlitterbahn: A dream gone bad
A week after 11 of its rides had been closed to the public by inspectors, Schlitterbahn can re-open seven of them at its Kansas City, Kan., water park.
Those 11 rides had been off limits after Schlitterbahn's May 25 opening for the 2018 season. That was after an audit by the Kansas Department of Labor found those rides were not in compliance with the Kansas Amusement Ride Act.
Schlitterbahn disputed the audit, but agreed to keep the 11 rides closed until the Wyandotte County District Attorney and the Kansas Department of Labor determined that they were in compliance. The tour by inspectors happened Friday morning.
A statement from Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree on Friday afternoon said the following rides were approved for operation:
- Bahnzai Pipeline Tube Slide
- Black Knight Tube Slide
- Blitz Falls Aquaveyor
- King Kaw Aquaveyor
- Storm Blaster
That means the following rides remain closed as Schlitterbahn heads into the weekend:
- Boogie Bahn
- Soaring Eagle Zipline
Much of the Kansas Department of Labor audit identified missing operator manuals, inspection reports and missing safety signs when inspectors arrived at the water park on May 16 and 17.
It also found that parts on the Soaring Eagle Zipline, which were meant to operate for five years before replacement, were entering in their sixth year of operation.
Schlitterbahn enters the weekend after another difficult news week for the embattled water park. On Wednesday, the Kansas Attorney General charged two maintenance workers with obstructing law enforcement, alleging that they misled investigators probing the circumstances of a 2016 death on the Verruckt water slide.
Those maintenance workers bring to five the total number of individuals associated with Schlitterbahn who face criminal charges in the death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab. A corporate entity related to Schlitterbahn and a general contractor owned by Schlitterbahn's owners also face criminal charges.
All have pleaded not guilty and deny wrongdoing. Texas-based Schlitterbahn insists that it runs a safe operation.