Feature chronicles the rise of the Schlitterbahn water parks and the subsequent tragedy

Posted | Contributed by PhantomTails

From the article:

Jeff Henry often said that his goal in life was to make customers of his family’s legendary water parks happy — "to put a smile on their faces, to give them a thrill or two." It was a beautiful vision. Until it went horribly wrong.

Read the feature from Texas Monthly.

I'll have to find time to read this, but I'm sure it is a great piece since it was written by Skip Hollandsworth. He was prominently featured in the first 4 episodes of The Last Defense on ABC back in June concerning the Darlie Routier murder case in Texas.


Excellent article. Thanks for sharing.

I'm left wondering about his claims that he didn't know rafts were leaving the chute. I find that hard to believe.


Fever I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.

We are to believe that the guy who designs the rides, and happens to be part of the ownership group, isn't aware of the safety records of the rides he creates? Unless of course those safety reports had been doctored by park management.

TheMillenniumRider's avatar

I would believe that yes, he strikes me as the kind of guy who has people to handle the finances and the logistics of things and he just focuses on having a good time designing and installing the parks and rides which he appears to be most passionate about. Once the installation is done he moves on to the next development.

Besides, I don;t think he would knowingly allow a ride to operate which would cause a death to occur. That would just be plain stupid from a business standpoint, I doubt anyone would wake up and go, "gee let me kill some of our guests today, that would drive some new visits and more revenue."

It's no different than the Imagineers at Disney that get paid to "dream big" and create the ideas. Then the finance folks bring them to earth. So much of the Disney (and Universal) stuff is impressive enough, I can only imagine some of the things that didn't make it off the drawing board for whatever reason.

Except that Imagineers are actually engineers. :) Dreaming big wasn’t the problem, it’s that the Schlitterbahn folks built their dream without certified engineers. In fact, the indictment alleges that an engineering firm retained by Schlitterbahn raised grave concerns about the ride, but were dismissed.

See, this is something I would do. Plenty of dreams and no knowledge.

“I know! Let’s put a Rotor over there in JungleLand but when the floor drops we’ll fill it with alligators!”
“Um... sir?...”
“Do it! We’ll invite the TV show. They’ll LOVE it!”

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