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Family of boy killed on Kansas waterslide to receive $20 million

A worker removes netting from the Varruckt waterslide in Kansas City, Kan., on Aug. 9, 2016.
(Keith Myers / TNS)

The family of a 10-year-old boy who died on a giant waterslide at a Kansas water park will receive nearly $20 million in settlement payments, according to court documents.

The largest payment to Caleb Schwab’s family — $14 million — will come from SVV 1 and KC Water Park, two companies associated with the Texas-based water park operator Schlitterbahn, the Kansas City Star reported.

The rest of the money will come from the general contractor that built the ride, the manufacturer of the raft Caleb was riding, and a company that consulted on the 17-story Verruckt waterslide that was dubbed the tallest in the world. The waterslide at the park in Kansas City has been closed since the boy’s death on Aug. 7, 2016.

The settlements had already been announced, but dollar figures weren’t disclosed until the Star filed court motions arguing that the amounts paid by each defendant should be released to ensure those responsible for Caleb’s death are held publicly accountable.

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Caleb’s father is Republican Kansas state Rep. Scott Schwab. Attorneys for the family declined to comment to the Star. They said previously in a written statement that the family was “determined to hold all those responsible for this tragedy accountable, while doing all they can to ensure this never happens again to another family.”

Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio in an email to the Star said that Caleb’s family and the others affected will “forever be in our thoughts and prayers.” The company previously announced it would tear down Verruckt once a court allows it, although it remains unclear when that will happen.

Verruckt — German for “insane” — featured multiperson rafts that made a 17-story drop at speeds of up to 70 mph, followed by a surge up a hump and a 50-foot descent to a finishing pool. During the ride, Caleb was decapitated, according to an earlier Associated Press report quoting a person familiar with the investigation who was not authorized to talk about the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The two women who took the ride with Caleb suffered serious facial injuries. They have settled their claims against the companies involved.

At the time of Caleb’s death, Kansas was known for its light regulation of amusement park rides. But last month, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed off on legislation that beefs up the state’s requirements.

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Rep. Schwab said in March on the floor of the Kansas House that the bill was for “the next kid who goes some place in Kansas for a fun weekend.”

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