Former Schlitterbahn water park employee charged in 10-year-old’s 2016 death on ride
John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A man has been charged with manslaughter in the 2016 death of a 10-year-old boy on a water slide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas.
Tyler Austin Miles, 29, was booked into the Wyandotte County Detention Center Friday morning on one count of involuntary manslaughter, jail records show. His bond was set at $50,000. According to Schlitterbahn, Miles was the operations director for the park.
Caleb Schwab, 10, was killed on Aug. 7, 2016, after something went wrong when the child rode on the park’s 168-foot-tall Verruckt (German for “insane”) water slide. The Verruckt was the largest of its kind in the world at the time. It was closed indefinitely following Caleb’s death.
Esteban Castaneda told ABC News in 2016 he first heard a “boom” on Schlitterbahn Waterpark’s Verruckt water slide, which is promoted as the world’s tallest.
He then saw a raft come through, and “immediately after the raft … you see a body,” he said.
He said there were two women sitting in the back of the raft with blood on them.
Investigators said Caleb was somehow decapitated on the ride.
Caleb’s parents spoke to ABC News last year. His father, Scott Schwab, said that in the months after the tragedy, the family members, especially the three surviving brothers, soothe themselves by watching videos of Caleb.
“There’s times when it’s like, I can’t look at that right now, and there’s other times when you can’t sleep and you want to look at it,” Schwab said.
Last year, the Schwab family reached a settlement of an undisclosed amount with the park’s owners and the ride’s manufacturer that will go to Caleb’s brothers, attorneys for the family, Mike Rader and Todd Scharnhorst, told ABC News.
The Schwab family has not yet commented on Friday’s news.
Miles was due in court Friday afternoon. He has not yet entered a plea.
A statement from the company to ABC Kansas City affiliate KMBC-TV read: “We are deeply disappointed to learn that any individual is being personally charged for the terrible accident on Verruckt. Our review of the facts and circumstances of the accident has never shown any evidence of criminal conduct on the part of anyone. The safety of our guests and employees has been at the forefront of our culture throughout our 40 years of operations. Our families enjoy our waterparks and its rides and attractions. We have set the highest bar for safety in our industry.
“Our staff, since we opened Schlitterbahn Kansas City, has demonstrated the highest dedication to safety, from the training of our lifeguards and ride operators, to ensuring all rides have operated in accordance with our strict protocols. Our team has been conscientious and committed to providing visitors to the waterpark a safe and enjoyable experience. We are shocked by any allegations of impropriety or negligence on the part of anyone associated with Verruckt.
“Throughout his employment with us, our operations director, Tyler, demonstrated the highest dedication to safety, from the training of our lifeguards and ride operators, to ensuring all rides have operated in accordance with our strict protocols. He was conscientious and committed to providing visitors to the waterpark a safe and enjoyable experience. Tyler left us in September to accept great opportunity; we were sorry to see him go and wished him well. We stand by him and are shocked by these allegations.”
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