7 of 11 Schlitterbahn rides reopened after being closed due to state inspection’s findings

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Seven Schlitterbahn rides have been reopened Friday after 11 rides were closed last week due to a state audit that found numerous violations at the KCK water park.

When Schlitterbahn opened for the season last week, only six of its rides were open to park visitors. None of those rides were specifically mentioned in a Kansas Department of Labor audit released after an inspection.

Schlitterbahn Water Park

The department issued a notice alleging 11 violations of state amusement park regulations.

The audit said safety signs in some park areas were not adequate, records were not available for review and some operating and training manuals were not complete. The audit also said one ride’s parts weren’t replaced as the manufacturer recommended.

The water parks’s attorneys called the audit a “malicious effort” to “stir up unfounded fear” about safety.

On Friday, the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office said a state inspector and District Attorney Mark Dupree went to Schlitterbahn to “review for compliance for some of the rides.”

The seven rides that are now back open are: the Bahnzai Pipeline tube slide, the Black Knight tube slide, the Blitz Falls Aquaveyor, the Cyclone, the King Kaw Aquaveyor, the Storm Blaster and the Twister.

The Boogie Bahn, the Soaring Eagle zipline, the Whirlwind water slide and the Wolfpack water slide are still closed. The district attorney’s office said those rides won’t reopen until county, state and Schlitterbahn officials agree the rides are in compliance with regulations.

Caleb Thomas Schwab

Schlitterbahn has been under intense scrutiny in the past few months. Ten-year-old Caleb Schwab died at the park in 2016 while riding the Verrückt water slide. The raft he was on went airborne and hit a metal pole overhead.

As a result, the KCK water park — along with a Schlitterbahn co-owner, slide designer, former park operations manager and two maintenance workers — was charged in connection to the boy’s death.

Charges were dropped in April against the water park due to a technicality, but officials say those charges will be refiled. Charges are still ongoing in the other cases.

Court documents show, from August 2014 until Caleb’s death in August 2016, more than a dozen people reported injuries from the ride including concussions, whiplash and herniated spinal disk injuries.

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