The two women who shared a raft with the boy who was killed on the Verrückt waterslide at the Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark August 7 are recovering from facial injuries and emotional trauma.
The women, whose names have not been disclosed by authorities investigating the accident, are sisters from Smith Center, Kan., a town near the Nebraska border. They were seated in a raft behind 10-year-old Caleb Schwab, who wanted to ride with his 12-year-old brother, Nate. But because of weight requirements on the slide, considered the world’s tallest waterslide, the brothers were seated with adults.
Nate went down the slide first and waited at the bottom to watch Caleb’s raft go down. Tragically, he ended up witnessing his brother’s death.
Investigators say the raft made it down the 17-story vertical slide without incident. But when the raft crested the second hill, Caleb was launched into the safety netting that covers the slide. Investigators believe he struck the metal hoops holding the netting in place and was decapitated above the shoulders.
The husband of one of the women on Caleb’s raft said his wife suffered a broken jaw and required eight stitches on her chin. His sister-in-law suffered a fractured eye socket, a bruised eyeball, and a laceration above her eye that required five stitches. The woman with the broken jaw may need to have her jaw wired shut until it heals, Inquistr reported.
The emotional wounds the women suffer, however, may be the hardest to heal. The husband said that the women are suffering from the trauma of seeing Caleb die up close and are not ready to talk to anyone about the incident. He said the local community, in which one of the women is a school teacher, has reached out to them and is helping them cope with their emotional wounds.