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Boy Who Died On World's Tallest Waterslide Suffered Neck Injury

Caleb Schwab, 10, died Sunday and was the son of a Kansas lawmaker.

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Updated on

A 10-year-old boy died Sunday on the world's tallest waterslide at Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas after suffering a neck injury, officials said.

Charlie Riedel / AP

He was identified as Caleb Schwab, the son of state Rep. Scott Schwab, the Kansas City Star reported.

Schwab and his wife, Michele, released a statement Sunday night saying they appreciated the community's prayers for their son.

"Since the day he was born, he brought abundant joy to our family and all those who he came in contact with. As we try and mend our home with him no longer with us, we are comforted knowing he believed in his Savior, Jesus, and they are forever together now. We will see him another day."

On Monday, autopsy results showed he died of a neck injury.

Officers working an apparent accident death investigation at Schlitterbahn. No other details at this time.

Caleb was on the water slide with two women, KSHB reported. They sustained minor facial injuries, and he was found at the bottom of the slide with a fatal neck injury, police said.

Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said the park closed immediately out of respect for the boy's family, as well as to give staff time to cope.

"This is not something we’ve experienced," she said.

The park planned to reopen Wednesday, although the water slide would remain closed.

All rides had been inspected by an outside party before the start of the summer season, and park said staff inspect them daily.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time," Prosapio said.

The Schwab family was at the park on Sunday as part of elected officials day, the Star reported. Lawmakers and their families received free entry and lunch, and many local officials turned out for the day.

The 168-foot-tall Verrückt waterslide is the tallest in the world and opened in 2014.

Charlie Riedel / AP

Two or three riders may be on the slide at a time, launching through two drops on a raft. The ride has been so popular that reservations are required, and on many days, visitors seek more reservations than are available.

The park is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, but Verrückt will remain closed for the time being.

The slide required unprecedented engineering and its opening date was delayed for months in 2014.

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An original five-story design was modified after rafts went flying into the air.

"It's dangerous, but it's a safe dangerous now," Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts co-owner Jeff Henry told USA Today in 2014. "Schlitterbahn is a family water park, but this isn't a family ride. It's for the thrill seekers of the world, people into extreme adventure."

The company also owns water parks in Texas.

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at claudia.koerner@buzzfeed.com.

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