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‘The time has come’: Judge says Verruckt water slide in KCK can be torn down

Here’s what happened after a 10-year-old died on Schlitterbahn’s Verrückt water slide

Here's a look back at Verrückt and the series of events following 10-year-old Caleb Schwab's death on the water slide in 2016 at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City, Kan.
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Here's a look back at Verrückt and the series of events following 10-year-old Caleb Schwab's death on the water slide in 2016 at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City, Kan.

A Wyandotte County judge on Wednesday said work can go forward to tear down the Kansas City, Kan., water slide where 10-year-old Caleb Schwab was killed in 2016.

Attorneys representing the owners of the Schlitterbahn water park said the water slide could begin to come down Nov. 1.

A court order is expected by the end of this week that will allow the deconstruction of Verruckt to begin, after an agreement was reached between the state and defendants in a criminal case stemming from Caleb’s death.

Wyandotte County District Court Judge Robert Burns, who is presiding over the criminal case, said the order will allow the water park to take the slide down.

“The time has come for this to be removed,” Burns said. “Verruckt’s preservation traumatizes everyone.”

Plans to tear down the slide have been tied up in legal wrangling between the state and the water park for months.

In July, attorneys for KC Waterpark Management had said they were prepared to commence the demolition of the 17-story Verruckt water slide shortly after Labor Day, when the park closes for the season.

Attorney Melanie Morgan made that statement during a July 12 court hearing for individuals and companies facing criminal charges in connection with the 2016 death.

But a date had not been set for demolition, as the state made a series of requests about how the demolition should be handled. The state asked that a third-party vendor be hired to complete the demolition and that various elements of the water slide be preserved.

On Wednesday, Morgan said preliminary deconstruction of Verruckt will start soon. The visible slide will likely start to come down by Nov. 1 But, she said, “If we can make it happen sooner, we absolutely will.”

Verruckt closed down permanently after Caleb’s death.

Earlier this year, four rides at Schlitterbahn were closed following an inspection by the Kansas Department of Labor that found the rides were not in compliance with the Kansas Amusement Ride Act.

Winter Prosapio, a Schlitterbahn spokeswoman, said on Wednesday that all rides are now open.

EPR Properties is warning investors that criminal indictments against the water park operator and its co-owner could hurt Schlitterbahn's chances of repaying the $174.3 million balance on the loan.

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