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Tallest water slide in the world is set to open Thursday in Kansas

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Like sliding down the Statue of Liberty? World's tallest water slide set to open after multiple delays
Verruckt to open: It's half waterpark ride, half roller coaster

After several months of delays, Verruckt, the world’s tallest water slide, is set to open Thursday in Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kan.

At a little more than 168 feet high, the ride is taller than New York’s Statue of Liberty. It was to have opened at the end of last month, but a mechanical issue scrubbed those plans. That issue has been addressed, spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said Tuesday morning.

Here's how the ride unfolds: Thrill-seekers climb nearly 300 steps to the top, clamber onto a four-person raft then plunge downward at more than 50 mph. They are then hauled up a 55-story hill and sail downward again, landing with a splash in a pool of water.

"We want you to feel like you're coming out of a cannon and getting shot out and then falling straight down," water park designer Jeff Henry of Texas said in a June 29 Travel Channel show called "Xtreme Waterparks."

Guinness World Records representatives visited the Verruckt slide in April to certify it as the tallest water slide on the globe at 17 stories -- 168 feet and 7 inches tall.

"The ride is extremely complex," Prosapio told the Los Angeles Times after a problem with the conveyer that hauls the 100-pound rafts to the top of the slide scotched the start.

The various bumps on the road to completing the slide are detailed in the Travel Channel feature. The city also required additional time to approve the permit for this gargantuan endeavor. Rain, snow, even tornadoes interfered with construction.

Just after Guinness visited the park in April, the ride’s design had to be changed after some test rafts went flying through the air and crashed to the ground.

A county-state agency inspected the ride for structural soundness, Kansas City, Mo., TV station KMBC News reported. Rider safety is not part of that inspection.

There are "very few, if any, rules in the state of Kansas" governing rider safety at theme parks, Edwin Birch, spokesman for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., told KMBC.

Prosapio said the park and Verruckt were required to meet all local codes and building requirements but that Schlitterbahn abided by national guidelines related to waterpark rides.

"This ride is almost a hybrid between a waterpark ride and a roller coaster, so we are going with the more conservative waterpark guidelines," she said.

Prosapio said a media preview would take place Wednesday morning and that the park had been sending test riders in the last few days "even in bikinis."

In a promo for the Travel Channel show, above, a camera provides a first-person point of view of the ride.

Will you be lining up to ride Verruckt?

Not in a million years. Follow me @AmyTheHub

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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