TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Friday that he wants the state to review its regulation of amusement rides following a 10-year-old boy’s death at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas.
Brownback told reporters that he’s hoping state legislators spend significant time examining the state’s law on amusement parks.
“I think that all needs to be looked at now in light of this tragedy,” Brownback said during a news conference.
Caleb Thomas Schwab died Sunday while riding what is billed as the world’s tallest waterslide. He was the son of state Rep. Scott Schwab.
The boy’s funeral was Friday at the LifeMission Church in the family’s hometown of Olathe. Brownback began his news conference by publicly offering his condolences.
Kansas requires operators of permanent rides to “self-inspect” them at least once a year and maintain records. The state Department of Labor randomly audits those records, but Schlitterbahn’s documents hadn’t been examined by the state for four years.
The law calls for annual “non-destructive testing,” with methods that include ultrasound. State Deputy Labor Secretary Brad Burke said the law allows for visual inspections.
The ride on which the boy died — “Verruckt,” which in German means “insane” — features multiperson rafts that make a 168-foot drop at speeds of up to 70 mph, followed by a surge up a hump and a 50-foot descent to a finishing pool.
Riders, who must be at least 54 inches tall, are harnessed with two nylon seatbelt-like straps — one that crosses the rider’s lap, the other stretching diagonally like a car shoulder seatbelt. Each strap is held in place by long straps that close with fabric fasteners, not buckles. Riders hold ropes inside the raft.
Several other riders have said since the accident that their shoulder straps came loose or snapped.
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