Parents leery of returning to water park as Schlitterbahn reopens

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Schlitterbahn Water Park reopened at noon Friday for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, nearly two years after 10-year-old Caleb Schwab died while riding the 17-story Verruckt waterslide.

Caleb Thomas Schwab

Some parents remain leery about bringing their kids back to Schlitterbahn.

Only six of the rides here are reopening, following a state audit released earlier this week.

The Kansas Department of Labor audit cites 11 violations of amusement park regulations, mostly related to record keeping and safety signs.

Still, Schlitterbahn went ahead and reopened the tourist attraction. Lawyers for the park called the audit a malicious effort to stir up unfounded fear about safety.

Some parents FOX4 talked with say they are choosing not to bring their children back to the water park for right now.

"I kind of have mixed emotions," said Tumaka Campill, a mother of four children. "It was a nice waterpark at some point, until the tragedy occurred. But as a mother you know if the rides aren’t safe, don’t open it up. Why take the risk?"

The state audit says safety signs at the park were inadequate, records were not available for review and some operating and training manuals were incomplete. The state issued the park a warning as a result of those violations. Rides that remain shut down include a surfing ride, the Soaring Eagle zip line and a two-seat aerial chair that pulls riders across the park from 100 feet above the ground.

Workers and managers at the park Friday declined to speak with FOX 4. The park's lawyers have said audit issues do not impact guest safety.