Indictments Issued in Death of Boy on Waterslide


Some people in New York might have heard about an accident involving a waterslide that decapitated a 10-year-old boy in 2016. The accident, which happened in Kansas City, occurred when the boy's raft flew into the air and slammed into a hoop that was holding up safety netting. The boy was the son of a Kansas state legislator, and his death has prompted stricter ride inspection laws in the state.

On April 2, the ride's designer was taken into custody at an airport in Texas and charged with aggravated endangering of a child, aggravated battery, and murder in the second degree. He is one of several parties facing indictments in the incident. Others include a co-owner of the park where the accident occurred, the park operations director, and the company responsible for the slide's manufacture. The indictment says the slide was rushed into production and that the designer and the park co-owner did not have the engineering knowledge needed to create the slide, which is the world's tallest.

This claim has been disputed by the park. It says that all its rides are inspected internally and by third parties before the season starts and are inspected daily during the season.

When an accident of this nature occurs, the parties considered responsible may face a civil lawsuit in addition to criminal charges. However, it is not necessary for there to be a criminal case to move ahead with a civil case since the burden of proof is lower in a civil case. One part of the civil case may be premises liability. For example, in this incident, the park co-owner may be held responsible on the grounds that he had an obligation to keep his property safe.

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