A mum had to be held back by theme park visitors so she wouldn't see the body of her 10-year-old son who'd just been decapitated on a water slide.
August 7 marks the five-year anniversary of the horrific tragic accident at the Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Caleb Schwab, son of Kansas state representative Scott Schwab, was visiting the park with his father, his mother, and his three brothers, as Kansas elected officials and their families were offered free admission that fateful Sunday.
Visitors flocked to the Schlitterbahn Water Park to try the famous 18-second waterslide, which opened to the public in 2014.
On the day Caleb visited the park, around 100,000 people from across the globe had already ridden the Verrückt – German for "insane".
As the young boy made the climb up the 264 steps to the 169-feet tall Verrückt waterslide – the tallest in the world – his family had no clue that it would be the last time they ever saw him.
When Caleb was riding the waterslide up the second hill, the raft he was in detached from its fibreglass flume and flew up into the air.
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The 10-year-old's head collided with a net and a semi-circular metal hoop that was supporting it, and the hoop sliced into his neck, and Caleb was instantly decapitated.
His head and body flew out of the raft and landed on the chute.
At the bottom of the ride, one of Caleb's brothers waited for him alongside numerous spectators, who began to scream when the boy's corpse slid toward the runout pool.
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The scene was so horrific that onlookers had to prevent the boy's mother from witnessing it.
An onlooker told Texas Monthly: “It was as horrible a moment as you could imagine. A nightmare beyond comprehension. I can’t begin to describe it.”
Caleb had ridden the waterslide alongside two other passengers, both women, who were also injured in the freak accident.
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One suffered a broken jaw, while the other suffered a facial bone fracture and needed stitches.
Shortly after the accident, Inquisitr reported that it could have been the uneven weight distribution of the three passengers in the raft that led to Caleb's horrific death.
The boy, who weighed 73 pounds (about 5.2 stone) was placed in the front of the raft while the largest passenger, a woman weighing 275 pounds (about 19.6 stone), was placed in the back.
A second woman weighing 197 (14 stone) pounds was then placed in the middle seat.
Experts say the extreme weight difference between the front and back of the raft may have contributed to the fatal accident.
However, court documents said that a team of experts who inspected the ride after Caleb's death found “physical evidence that indicated that other rafts had gone airborne and collided with the overhead hoops and netting before the fatality.”
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In July 2014 – just one week before the ride's grand opening – an engineering firm produced a report that “guaranteed that rafts would occasionally go airborne in a manner that could severely injure or kill the occupants.”
Other documents cited evidence of dozens of Schlitterbahn customers who had been injured on the ride. Allegedly, Schlitterbahn buried or downplayed these reports.
The family of Caleb Schwab settled with several parties involved in the accident, including Schlitterbahn for approximately $20 million in early 2017.
In March 2018, an indictment was issued by a grand jury against Schlitterbahn and the former director of operations, Tyler Austin Miles.
They were charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated battery, aggravated child endangerment and interference with law enforcement.
The water park has now been permanently closed and the Verrückt waterslide has been demolished.
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