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Police: Weights in Kansas water slide death within limits

Kansas waterpark reopens
Kansas waterpark reopens 00:16

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Police say combined weights for a 10-year-old boy and two other people riding a raft with him at a water park when he was killed were within the ride's limits.

Caleb Schwab, the son of a state legislator in Kansas, died while riding the world's tallest water slide. Officials said he suffered a fatal neck injury, and was dead by the time first responders reached him.

The boy died on the 168-foot "Verruckt" at Schlitterbahn WaterPark in Kansas City, Kansas. Riders are weighed to ensure each raft carries between 400 pounds and 550 pounds.

Water slide death 07:04

Police Monday released a report showing one rider at 140 pounds, another at 170, and an unclear weight for Caleb. He would have to weigh 90 pounds to make the trio's weight reach 400 pounds.

But police said weights taken at a hospital after the accident show one person weighed 275 pounds, another weighed 197 pounds and a third weighed 73 pounds, putting the combined weight at 545 pounds.

Questions about safety and inspection keep popping up in the wake of Schwab's death.

A document released by a state agency says all the rides at the water park passed private inspections in June, including the water slide on which a 10-year-old boy died.

When it initially opened, the park advertised the ride for only people 14 years and older. That age requirement is no longer posted on the park's website, though passengers must be at least 4 feet, 6 inches tall and the combined weight of the passengers in the raft must fall between 400 and 550 pounds.

The apparent shift away from the age restriction could be one of the questions in determining liability, according to CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman, who said the park owner and ride designer face potential legal troubles over Schwab's death.

There's also anecdotal evidence of problems with the ride's safety equipment. Parkgoer Paul Oberhauser told CBS News his belt came off while riding with a friend and his 9-year-old son about two weeks ago.

"As soon as I hit the bottom of the first curve the shoulder strap just kind of busted loose," Oberhauser said.

He said he had to grip handles by his legs to hold on and told park staff what happened.

"They kinda said, 'Oh no, really,' or something, 'Yes, that's not good.' And so it sounded like you know they were gonna do something about it," Oberhauser said.

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