How Schlitterbahn’s Verruckt was built in Wyandotte County
Two sisters injured on the Verrückt water slide the day an Olathe boy was killed have reached a settlement with the owners of Schlitterbahn water park.
Attorney Lynn Johnson, who represents the two women, said the amount of the settlement will not be disclosed.
“They feel good that it’s behind them and they feel good that there’s been an agreement to remove the Verrückt, to tear down the tower and remove all of the slide,” said Johnson.
Schlitterbahn announced in late November that after the investigation into Caleb’s death was complete that the slide would be demolished.
The sisters, who live in a small community near the Kansas-Nebraska state line, were in the raft with Caleb on Aug. 7. The women suffered serious facial injuries.
On the 168-foot, 17-story-drop Verrückt, riders would plunge down one slope, glide up and over another hump and then shoot down a final slope. It opened in 2014 amid publicity that attracted media from around the globe to Kansas City, Kan.
But an investigation by The Star in August described early warning signs about the ride. Even in the face of design and safety problems, Verrückt’s path to completion was all but assured, with almost no outside officials casting a critical eye on the project, The Star found.
After Caleb’s death, several riders told The Star about difficulties while on the world’s tallest water slide. Several experienced their harnesses coming off and in two instances since mid-July, people said their raft went airborne.
One was reported about three weeks before Caleb’s death and the other on July 28.
The sisters’ attorney said they sent a letter to Schlitterbahn officials in the fall saying that they would not consider discussing a settlement unless the slide was removed and destroyed.
“We didn’t have mediation until there was an agreement to that,” Johnson said.
What happened that August day is personal for the two sisters and they continue to decline to speak publicly about it. The two were prepared, however, to testify if needed for the bill in the Kansas Legislature strengthening the law on amusement ride inspections, Johnson said. The bill passed easily — and was sent to the governor for his signature — and the sisters weren’t needed to testify.
“If they ever speak out, it would be in favor of even more safety-oriented policies and procedures for amusement parks, but especially water parks,” Johnson said.
The sisters continue to think about the Schwab family.
“I think they are doing well,” Johnson said about the sisters Wednesday. “I think they feel as good as they can given everything. But they will never forget the death of their very brief friend.”