This ride was never safe and ample evidence was available from the beginning. They then compounded this folly by actually covering up incidents and destroying evidence. It appears that a decapitation was merely the final straw.
The exact same thing happened with that building in Japan that pancaked when management overloaded the top floor and then ignored cracking...
How a Freak Accident Happens
Over two years after 10-year-old Caleb Schwab lost his life on the tallest waterslide in the world, the amusement park industry has yet to fully reckon with the tragedy.
Sanford was eating a funnel cake with her back to the slide when she heard a noise, almost as if a ride had derailed. She turned around to see what was happening. On its way up to the second hill of Verrückt, Raft B went airborne, colliding with a metal pole and netting meant to prevent riders from being thrown from the ride. Sanford immediately realized the fear she nervously joked about hours prior was beginning to unfold in real time.
“[Verrückt] could hurt me, it could kill me, it is a seriously dangerous piece of equipment today, because there are things that we don’t know about it,” Henry said during the testing of the slide. Henry later told Texas Monthly he was acting when he said those things in order to glamorize Verrückt, but at the time, he continued to glorify the ride's danger: “It’s complex, it’s fast, it’s mean. If we mess up, it could be the end. I could die going down this ride.”
“The Verrückt accident was a terrible and tragic event and we cannot imagine the suffering that the victims and their families have endured,” Prosapio said in an email. “As a result of the accident, there are many questions surrounding this attraction—all designed to determine what happened.” She added: “We recognize that the Verrückt accident has caused people to question the safety of other attractions; while understandable, we hope the experiences of millions of guests over the past 40 years speaks to our continued commitment to provide fun entertainment in a safe manner.”
The initial financial boon promised by the Texas water park’s arrival failed to be fully realized. The financial crisis of 2008 caused priorities to shift in many areas, including the amusement-park industry. After delays forced the park into a soft opening in 2009 and a full-season opening in 2010, Schlitterbahn Kansas City, without any of the lodging originally envisioned, was labeled as a $180 million investment, missing the initial projection by more than three-quarters of the value. “The park had a lot of promise, but also a lot of issues,” said an industry veteran who has developed water-park rides throughout the world, including with Henry and Schooley at Schlitterbahn Kansas City. The industry veteran, who requested that Esquire withhold their name, laid out how the size of the park’s site, the timeline on their land and development goals, and the sweltering Kansas heat made the project one that was constantly reeling. “It never really came together for me,” the expert said.3
“This kind of project had never been done before,” the construction employee said. “We literally worked around the clock.”
In 2016, the most recent year from which data is available, 384 million guests experienced 1.7 billion rides at four hundred U.S. amusement parks without injury, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the world’s largest trade association representing the global attractions industry. Based on a three-year average of the most recent data, “the chance of being seriously injured on a fixed-site ride at a U.S. amusement park is one in seventeen million,” said Susan Storey, IAAPA’s director of communications. Storey added: “The industry’s long-standing safety record exists because safety is our top priority.”