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Waterslide designer charged in boy's death

Georgia readers may remember hearing about the death of a 10-year-old boy on a Kansas waterslide in 2016. On April 2, one of the ride's designers was arrested for his role in the fatal accident.

The 72-year-old defendant has been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated endangering a child. According to court documents, he and another designer rushed to get the waterslide, called the Verruckt, up and running at the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City. Authorities say that neither designer had the engineering expertise required to build an amusement ride. Several others also face charges, including the second designer, the construction company that erected the ride, the co-owner of Schlitterbahn and the park's former operations manager.

At 17 stories tall, the Verruckt was touted as the tallest waterslide in the world. In August 2016, the victim was killed when the raft he was riding flew into the air and struck one of the metal hoops that supported safety netting around the slide. The collision caused him to suffer a fatal neck injury. The accident also injured two women who were riding on the same raft. Since the accident, Kansas has passed a law mandating stronger inspection standards for amusement park rides.

Federal and state laws require that amusement park rides be safe for public use. If someone is injured on an amusement park ride, they have the right to file a premises liability lawsuit against the park owner for damages. These damages may include medical expenses and pain and suffering. If someone is killed on an amusement park ride, the victim's family has the right to file a wrongful death complaint against the park owner.

Source: NBC News, "Designer of Schlitterbahn waterslide that decapitated boy taken into custody at airport," Elizabeth Chuck, April 3, 2018

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