Boy Dies on Verrückt at Schlitterbahn Kansas City

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 4:40 PM

I'm not sure I understand how an element that creates the possibility of airtime would ever seem like a good idea on a water slide. Are there other waterslides out there with 2nd hills or just this one?

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016 4:46 PM

The Banzai Blast at The Beach in Cincinnati is a body slide that features multiple drops and at the last drop I as a 200+ male is completely lifted off the surface of the slide for a fraction of a second.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016 4:55 PM

Paisley said:
I'm not sure I understand how an element that creates the possibility of airtime would ever seem like a good idea on a water slide. Are there other waterslides out there with 2nd hills or just this one?

Yep, this one in Italy, and this appears to be the typical outcome, from what I've read:

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016 5:04 PM

Generally, you're only off the slide a couple of inches. It feels like a lot more because you can't see, and you only know you're floating in mid air, but it's nothing like that one in Italy.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016 5:06 PM

Totally agree that I am not far off the slide and not in any danger besides hitting my head. I was just using it as precedent for negative G's on a water slide.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016 5:07 PM

My hubby and I have caught pretty substantial airtime and lifted completely from water slides before, mostly on water coasters. I adore water parks but I am always worried about that sort of thing even when my brain says we're safe. We've spent time at the Kalahari in the dells and have come damn close to going over the side of a slide or hitting some pretty big air on secondary hills. He and I were discussing the physics of this whole thing last night while making dinner and really, even we agree this thing probably shouldn't have been built.

My heart aches for those involved in this tragedy. So incredibly sad.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016 5:08 PM

Oh yeah, I get what you're saying. I'm agreeing that it feels way scary, and from videos I've seen of Verruckt, there was not even that much air over the 2nd hill most of the time.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016 5:39 PM

There are the "looping" waterslides like Scorpion's Tail at Noah's Arc in the Wisconsin Dells, but that was all positive Gs when I went on it.

Last edited by Go Intamin, Tuesday, August 9, 2016 5:40 PM
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Tuesday, August 9, 2016 8:48 PM

I will repeat about the 2nd hill. There's hardly ever any airtime on the 2nd hill there's a skid break at the bottom of the big drop and partially up the hill, then there's jets that will launch you up that hill. Those jets usually give just enough boost to get over that 2nd hill with very little airtime. Every once in awhile you go over that hill a little bit faster and get some airtime but never as much as the top of the main drop.

Also the 2nd hill and the first drop was modified before the ride opened in 2014. A picture of the original 2nd hill can be seen here: https://twitter.com/Schlitterbahn/status/760958936165916673 the new 2nd hill is much less steep. That was the hill you seen boats flying off of in the picture on the Travel Channel show. (This was actually a dramatic stunt they set up by putting wheels under the boat and rolling it down the big hill, the boat destroyed a foot bridge near the ride)

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016 10:40 PM

"Hardly ever airtime" is based off of your own ride experiences, and it would seem that this slide has some fairly particular guidelines regarding the weight of the slides and how it is distributed. Not to mention your ride experiences may also be based off of a working restraint.

"hardly ever"

"usually"

"every once in a while"

Those are not words I would like to attribute to a ride's experience with regards to issues around its safety.

The ride ops hardly ever let a raft be dispatched that doesn't meet safety standards.

Usually the velcro restraints keep someone in the raft.

Every once in a while the unthinkable happens.

Horrific constellation of all the wrongs things happening at once.

Last edited by OhioStater, Tuesday, August 9, 2016 11:55 PM
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016 9:34 PM

Here is another report of a failing restraint the day of the accident from AP.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016 10:27 PM

I'm still not convinced that a broken restraint could've caused this accident by itself, but it does say a lot about the safety culture at this park if this was a known issue that they didn't address. Clearly someone on the design team (or maybe the park's insurance company) decided that the restraints were necessary, so in what universe is it acceptable to continue running the ride when people keep ending up at the bottom without their restraints attached? I could never imagine a major amusement park keeping a car in service if they knew that a particular seat belt was defective.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016 12:12 AM

They're Velcro, which wears out quickly with continuous use. Add water which might further diminish its effectiveness. I assume they're similar to the "restraints" found on Intamin raft rides and I'm reminded how weak they get and how easy it is for a rider to free themselves at any time during the ride.
I'm not the biggest water park fan, but I can't think of any other water slide where the riders are secured to the raft or tube by a belt. Common practice would be to just allow any rider who accidentally became separated from the raft to naturally slide on their ass to the next lowest spot where, under the operator's watchful eye or assistance, they could climb out over the side or just exit at the bottom. It may not be comfortable but I'd think it wouldn't be considered particularly unsafe.
In this situation however, where water slide meets roller coaster thrill ride, they must've recognized a restraint of some kind would be necessary but apparently thought these straps would suffice. I'm guessing this young man's strap failed and he levitated high enough out of the sled to strike his head on the hoop support.

So maybe it's clear the restraints weren't of correct design for potential situations, ineffective straps weren't replaced, and proper clearance between the rider's possible position and the structure (like is mandated on coasters) was ignored. What a horrible shame for everyone.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016 10:19 AM

^ Way this! Velcro doesn't last long in those situations not to mention the extreme heat we have been having has not done wonders in breaking down the plastic in those velcros.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016 11:35 AM

Paisley said:

I'm not sure I understand how an element that creates the possibility of airtime would ever seem like a good idea on a water slide. Are there other waterslides out there with 2nd hills or just this one?

Paisley, yes there is another slide that has the second hill. I believe this was one of the very first. It is in Salt Lake City and has been there for years. I remember riding it when I was 12 so that was 26 years ago. The videos are from when the park was Raging Waters, now it is Seven Peaks and the slide has been repainted Yellow and is now called Lightning Falls I believe. People can get crazy air on this ride and I remember the first time I learned how to ride it just on your elbows and knees to reduce friction and launch in the air. Scared the crap out of me when I launched over the top and literally flew over the second hump like the guy in the second video. Check out the videos. They will blow your mind and yes this slide is still running.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=gLmT0shiBBU

This one is on the same slide but a view from the bottom. UNREAL!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGuhj87Qtho

Skip ahead to the 35 sec point in the second video to see the real action.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016 12:00 PM

Watched those two videos.

Holy crap.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016 12:01 PM

S&SFAN said:

Check out the videos. They will blow your mind and yes this slide is still running.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=gLmT0shiBBU

This one is on the same slide but a view from the bottom. UNREAL!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGuhj87Qtho

Skip ahead to the 35 sec point in the second video to see the real action.

My mind isn't blown. In fact, I think these look like terrific fun.

I'm not being callous here, I'm just looking at it from a strictly intellectual standpoint when I say this, but...

The fact that the ride gave airtime doesn't appear to be the issue. The fact that the park installed something your body could strike if you did get a certain amount of air is the problem. Flat out, a barrier was placed in the potential path of riders. I shouldn't need to say that's a pretty severe design flaw.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016 12:10 PM

When that guy landed in the second video, I let out an "oof" for him...

Awesome, but that'll knock the wind out of you

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Thursday, August 11, 2016 12:18 PM

Good point, Gonch. If they really needed that netting to keep people from flying off the slide, why would you have metal arched poles holding it up. At the very least they could have put some of those foam pool noodles around the metal arches if they were really concerned about someone getting airborne.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016 1:47 PM

I would have molded clear plexiglass over the top, similar to what the the Disney cruise ship slides use. I think that would have prevented this

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