The Latest: Kansas governor recalls ride on big waterslide

AP News
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Posted: Aug 12, 2016 8:08 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on Kansas water park fatality (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he and his youngest son rode the big waterslide on which a boy recently was killed when it opened in 2014.

Brownback told reporters Friday that he and his son waited an hour for their 15-second ride at the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kansas.

He said riders were weighed both at the bottom of its tower and at the top. He said the concern was ensuring that ahead of its long drop, each raft had the proper amount of weight, between 400 pounds and 550 pounds.

The governor recalled no issues with the raft's seatbelt-like straps across the lap and over the shoulder. Several riders have reported the shoulder straps snapping or coming loose.

Ten-year-old Caleb Thomas Schwab died on the ride Sunday. He was the son of a state legislator.

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6:10 p.m.

Kansas says a water park where a 10-year-old boy recently died on a huge slide is in compliance with the state's legal requirements for amusement rides.

But the requirements cited in a letter from the Kansas Department of Labor to the general manager of the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kansas, mostly involve proper record-keeping.

The department audited the park's records for the first time since June 2012 and said in the letter dated Thursday that the park maintained records as required and that "each employee is trained extensively." The letter was released Friday.

State law mandates that parks annually "self-inspect" their rides and maintain the records. The state has authority only to audit the records.

The son of a state legislator died Sunday while riding what's been billed as the world's tallest waterslide.

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5:35 p.m.

A Kansas legislator has described the 10-year-old son who died on a waterslide as a sensitive boy and his joy.

State Rep. Scott Schwab spoke to more than 1,000 mourners at a funeral Friday at the LifeMission Church in Olathe. Gov. Sam Brownback and many legislators attended the service for Caleb Thomas Schwab, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/2bo4v2N ).

The church had to turn away 500 people from a Thursday night visitation. Schwab thanked mourners for their support and singled out more than a dozen of the boy's friends. Caleb was the second-oldest of four sons.

Schwab said, "We have lost our joy, but we will get it back."

The boy died Sunday at the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kansas, while riding what's billed as the world's tallest waterslide.

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3:05 p.m.

The huge Kansas City, Kansas, waterslide on which a 10-year-old boy recently died was built in a state known for its light regulation of amusement park rides.

The company also lobbied legislators to help ensure that it remained responsible for its own inspections.

Kansas mandates annual inspections of permanent rides but allows private inspectors to do the checks, rather than requiring state inspections.

The state does only random audits of operators' records, and there are no additional local safety regulations for the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City.

Before Kansas considered imposing inspection requirements for amusement rides in 2008, a Schlitterbahn lobbyist urged lawmakers to allow large parks to handle their own inspections.

States' regulations of amusement rides are facing scrutiny following the death Sunday of Caleb Thomas Schwab at the park.

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11:45 a.m.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he wants the state to review its regulation of amusement rides following a 10-year-old boy's death at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas.

Brownback told reporters Friday that he's hoping state legislators spend significant time examining the state's law on amusement parks.

He said, "I think that all needs to be looked at now in light of this tragedy."

Kansas requires operators of permanent rides to "self-inspect" their rides at least once a year and maintain records. The state Department of Labor randomly audits those records, but Schlitterbahn's documents hadn't been audited for four years.

Caleb Thomas Schwab died Sunday while riding what is billed as the world's tallest waterslide. He was the son of state Rep. Scott Schwab.