In August, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab died while on the 168-foot-tall Verrückt water slide at Kansas City’s Schlitterbahn Waterpark.
Local authorities confirmed Caleb’s cause of death was due to a fatal “neck injury” – later acknowledging that he was decapitated in the accident. There were two women in the boat with him at the time, neither related to Caleb. They suffered minor facial injuries and were treated at local hospitals.
On Tuesday, three months since the incident, Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts issued a statement about the incident, announcing the demolition of Verrückt.
“All of us at Schlitterbahn have been heartbroken over the tragedy that occurred on Verrückt. In our 50 years of providing an environment for families and friends to gather, we’ve never experienced this kind of devastating event,” the park’s statement to PEOPLE read. “The safety of our staff and our guests is our top priority. We are parents and grandparents ourselves and many of us have ridden Verrückt with our own children and grandchildren over the years it operated.”
Adding, “Once the investigation is concluded and we are given permission by the court, Verrückt will be decommissioned – closed permanently and the slide removed from the tower. In our opinion, it is the only proper course of action following this tragedy.”
Named the world’s tallest water slide by Guinness World Records in 2014, the Verrückt (German for “crazy” or “insane”) requires riders to be at least 54 inches tall to go down the slide in multi-person rafts that hold up to 550 pounds.
Investigators continue to uncover exactly what happened to Caleb on the 17-story water slide. “We continue to fully cooperate with investigative teams and work with the families, their attorneys and our staff impacted by this accident,” the statement continued. “As we move forward, we assure everyone who works for us and the community: we remain wholly committed to our Kansas City park and the original vision of Schlitterbahn – providing a great place to work and an environment for families and friends to gather together.”
Verrückt was set to open in May 2014 but didn’t start taking riders until July as early tests of the water slide showed that riders could fly off.
“We honestly don’t know what’s happened,” Winter Prosapio, director of communications for Schlitterbahn told reporters in October, according to The Kansas City Star. “That’s why a full investigation is necessary … To be honest, this is not something we’ve experienced.”