Caleb Thomas Schwab was killed on Sunday at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City.
The 10-year-old was the son of Kansas State representative Scott Schwab and his wife, Michele, who released a heartbreaking statement Sunday night.
“Since the day he was born, he brought abundant joy to our family and all those who he came into contact with,” the Schwabs’ said.
“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.”
The boy died while riding the Verrückt waterslide, which is billed as the world’s tallest waterslide, at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City.
Verrückt, named after the German for "insane", stands at over 51 metres high, equivalent to 17 stories.
Esteban Castaneda told ABC7 Eyewitness news he had tried to help in the aftermath of the accident.
He told the network he heard booms coming from the slide area and then "saw a body wash down the slide directly after the raft did".
He said while trying to offer assistance a lifeguard told him there was nothing he could do.
It was then he saw the boy appeared to have been decapitated.
Castaneda said his own niece had ridden the slide earlier that day and had told him the velcro straps on her harness had come loose.
Riders are separated into groups of two to three riders, all of whom are over 54 inches tall and whose combined weights are between 400 and 550 pounds. The groups are then strapped onto rafts that then "will slide down a jaw-dropping 168 foot 7 inch structure, only to be blasted back up a second massive hill and then sent down yet another gut wrenching 50 foot drop for the ultimate in water slide thrills," the Schlitterbahn's website says.
There are many conflicting reports as to what went wrong on Sunday, but we do know that early in the afternoon on Sunday, Caleb climbed the 264 steps to get to the top of Verrückt.
He, and at least one other person, though likely two others, climbed aboard a blue raft. When a metal gate opened, he and the others on his raft rushed down the slide at nearly 60 miles per hour before being pushed up and over a second hill.