Designer of Verruckt water slide arrested

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Caleb was killed when his"Verruckt raft went flying off the 17-story ride
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04 April, 2018

The designer of a Kansas waterslide that decapitated a 10-year-old boy was taken into custody after he arrived at a Texas airport late Monday, U.S. Marshals said.

Also indicted are the Schlitterbahn Kansas City park and its former operations manager Tyler Austin Miles.

The raft the boy was riding in on the 17-story ride went airborne and hit an overhead loop.

Also charged in Caleb's death are Verruckt designer John Schooley and the director of operations for Schlitterbahn park, Tyler Miles. Henry is scheduled to enter a plea to a second-degree murder charge on Thursday, according to The San Antonio Express-News.

Schooley was charged last week with second-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated endangering of a child.

It proceeds to allege that Henry and Schooley made a spur-of-the-moment decision to design the ride, neglected fundamental steps in the design process, and "rushed forward relying nearly entirely on crude trial-and-error methods". Miles pleaded not guilty last month to involuntary manslaughter.

The Verruckt slide has been closed since Caleb died. Miles is now free after posting $50,000 bond.

The company has promised to aggressively fight the criminal charges.

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Park owner Jeffrey Wayne Henry, 62, was arrested in South Texas on Monday, March 26, on charges stemming from the investigation into the boy's death.

According to the indictments, Henry decided in 2012 to build the world's tallest water slide to impress the producers of a Travel Channel show. Henry's desire to "rush the project" caused the company to "skip fundamental steps in the design process".

John Schooley, designer of the "Verruckt" water slide.

"Verruckt suffered from a long list of risky design flaws; however, the most obvious and potentially lethal flaw was that Verruckt's design guaranteed that rafts would occasionally go airborne in a manner that could severely injure or kill the occupants", the indictment read.

The Schwab family reached settlements of almost $20 million with Schlitterbahn and various companies associated with the design and construction of the waterslide. Two women in the same raft suffered facial injuries and lacerations.

In a statement to CNN last week, the Schlitterbahn Waterpark called Schwab's death "tragic", but maintained that the defendants would be proven innocent when the case goes to trial.

'In fact, the design and operation of the Verruckt complied with few, if any, of the industry safety standards, ' the indictment says. But the indictment lists a dozen instances in which the design violated those standards and says investigators could find no evidence that so-called dynamic engineering calculations were made to determine the physics a passenger would experience.

The water slide was said to be world's largest and was designed by Schooley, who "possesses no engineering credentials relevant to amusement ride design or safety", a 47-page indictment filed by the state of Kansas said.


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