Two teenage girls have described the horrific moment they discovered a 10-year-old boy had been killed while riding a popular Kansas City water park ride.
“I saw his broken neck and him sliding down the slide leaving a blood trail,’ they told CNN.
It is believed that the accident occurred when his safety harness became loose.
Melanie Gocke (left) and Jess Sanford (right) talk about the moment they realised Caleb Schwab had been killed. Source: CNN.
"I turned around when I heard a noise that didn't sound like it was supposed to come from that kind of a ride," Jess Sanford said, continuing, "I didn't really understand what was going on, so I only really saw Caleb slide down the last half of the slide. And then I saw the blood." Sanford says it was then that the pandemonium began.
"His friend was screaming for help, and I think that’s when staff members and medics and stuff started running."
Caleb Schwab. Source: The Schwab family.
Sitting at 51 metres high (or the equivalent of 17 storeys), the Verrückt ride - which takes its name from the German word for "insane" - is currently the tallest slide in the world. But since day one of its planning, the ride has been dogged with problems.
The ride's opening was delayed three times due to safety concerns, with footage of airborne rafts being shown around the world and leaving the international community stunned at the evident lack of safety.
Verruckt ride rafts becoming airborne during testing. Source: ABC News.
When asked by the news host what the park's response was, Melanie Gocke said. "Nobody went to try and revive him. One of the people that was at the water park went up to the slide to see if he was okay and I guess they saw that he wasn't. The medics immediately went to the other two people on the ride."
"I think they'd just kind of realised that he was dead and so they didn't... I don't think they tried to revive him," Sanford added finally.
Melanie and Jess discuss how the park handled the accident. Post continues...
The ride requires park goers to be fitted with two straps - one across the waist and another across the chest. But numerous reports of the straps breaking mid-ride have been made over the years.
Last week, former park goer Erin Swift Oberhauser wrote that this exact thing had happened to her husband Paul just weeks prior to Schwab's death.
"Paul's shoulder belt came loose while they were on it, but he's big enough and strong enough to hold on so he came out unscathed. We told the Schlitterbahn folks but they didn't seem too concerned, they said, "That's not good." We aren't sure whether or not they kept that raft in service," she wrote in a lengthy Facebook post.
The Verruckt ride. Source: Schlitterbahn.
"About two hours later, we saw the same thing happen to another guy," she continued.
And according to another park goer, Esteban Castaneda, his niece had ridden the Verrückt slide on the same day as Schwab and reported the velcro straps on her harness came loose.
Schlitterbahn was closed following Schwab's death, with a full investigation currently underway.