Attorney also reveals independent investigation

By Hilary Shenfeld
August 16, 2016 07:45 PM
David Strickland/AP

Scott Schwab, the father of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab, who was killed last week at Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, Kansas, hopes the investigation into the cause will prevent future tragedies, he said Tuesday in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

“While we try to step forward into the new normal of life without Caleb in our presence, we find hope with the current investigation into the incident to provide answers and assurances that such tragedy will not strike again,” Schwab wrote.

On behalf of his wife and three surviving sons, who all were at the park that day enjoying a family outing, Schwab, a Kansas state representative, also expressed thanks for the outpouring of support.

“Words will never convey the appreciation Michele, the boys, and I have for all those who expressed their love and support the last week and a half,” he wrote. “‘Thank You’ seems so inadequate to express our appreciation, but it is the only phrase we have. So, from the depths of our hearts, we thank you.”

Meanwhile, his attorney, Michael C. Rader, said his firm is independently investigating the tragedy and is getting cooperation from Schlitterbahn. “I can say that my firm and I along with our team of experts are doing everything in our power to ensure that all questions surrounding the cause of this tragedy are fully answered,” he wrote in a statement.

A water park spokesperson tells PEOPLE in a statement that they also want to find out what caused the accident.

“At Schlitterbahn, we share the need for answers to the tragedy, and are fully committed to cooperating with the investigation,” spokesperson Laurie Roberts said.

The two women in the raft with Caleb, sisters Hannah Barnes and Matraca Baetz, also issued a statement Tuesday.

“We are pursuing a thorough investigation of this tragic event to insure that any and all measures are taken to prevent this from ever happening again,” they wrote, according to the Kansas City Star.

Their attorney, Lynn Johnson, told the newspaper the women would be pursuing a lawsuit, “but first they want the investigation to move forward so they have answers to their questions.”

The Kansas City Police Department also is investigating the Aug. 7 accident. Caleb, 10, was on the Verruckt water slide ride with two fellow riders when he apparently slipped out of the safety restraint and was decapitated. Two sisters in the raft with him also were injured.

The 168-foot water slide posed issues for the park early on. Its 2014 opening was twice delayed, once because rafts flew off and into the air.