No one goes to an amusement park to have a quiet, relaxing day: patrons arrive in hordes expecting excitement and adrenaline. But even the world’s most avid thrill-seekers may think twice before trying out the Verruckt. Verruckt translates to “insane” or “crazy” in German, and with a record-smashing peak height of 168 feet, it’s easy to see why. Safety testing on the long-anticipated ride has finally been completed, and at last, the Schlitterbahn Park in Kansas City is scheduled to debut the world’s tallest water slide this Thursday.
Dangerous Water Slide
Unless you’re an architect or an engineer, it’s difficult to readily visualize such great heights. Let’s try to put the drop on Schlitterbahn’s newest ride, the Verruckt, into clearer perspective.
How many steps do you climb to reach your apartment, or the upper floor of your home? Ten? Twenty? If you want to scale the Verruckt, you’ll have to climb no fewer than 264.
After you finally catch your breath, take a moment to enjoy the incredible view: you’re now standing atop a 15-story building, the peak of Niagara Falls, or the top of the Statue of Liberty.
Needless to say, the Verruckt is not ideal for those with a fear of heights.
In fact, once you’ve reached the summit of this formidable attraction, you’ve also reached the summit of the entire water slide world. “The Crazy” narrowly edges out the former record-holder, Brazil’s Kilimanjaro water slide — and even the Kilimanjaro, standing at about 164 feet, “causes one in 20 riders to chicken out,” according to the Travel Channel.
Schlitterbahn Spokeswoman: “The Ride is Fine, it Works”
According to Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Tara Henry, “The ride is fine, it works.”
During early stages of testing, the park used bags of sand as stand-in dummies for flesh and blood passengers. But sand can only reveal so much about the actual human dynamic, and at last, having passed initial safety concerns, the Verruckt was cleared for several daring human testers: those who actually worked on the ride.
Engineer John Schooley and designer Jeff Henry each donned a camera and launched themselves down their creation — and fortunately, neither experienced any problems or incurred any injuries. The only fatality reported was an unsecured baseball cap, so future riders may want to think twice about wearing any loose attire.
A conveyor belt carries rafts to the top.
Once passengers reach the peak of the Verruckt, they are secured into a raft with Velcro straps, and guarded by a curved half-dome of netting arching over the slide like a ceiling.
Then, they plummet down the side of a ride tall enough to be a skyscraper at speeds reaching up to 60 miles per hour.
Says Jeff Henry, “John and I were the first people down; I’m still recovering mentally. It’s like jumping off the Empire State Building. It’s the scariest thing I’ve done.”
The Verruckt was originally assembled at Schlitterbahn’s headquarters in New Braunfels, where spokeswoman Henry has hinted she “is sure there is something special waiting in the wings.” Henry also stated, “Jeff Henry is always dreaming up attractions that are bigger, faster and taller.”
If her assessment is accurate, could there be a ride even crazier than The Crazy in store for the future?
The Verruckt’s safety tests have been promising — but only time will tell how the ride truly performs throughout the years.
If you or someone you love was injured in a water slide accident, you may have a strong personal injury claim. To schedule a free and confidential case evaluation, call the amusement park accident lawyers of Reiff & Bily at (800) 861-6708 today.