Designer of Schlitterbahn waterslide arrested at Texas airport

Federal authorities in Dallas have arrested one of the designers of a Kansas water park slide that decapitated a 10-year-old boy.

USA marshals on Monday arrested a co-defendant, 72-year-old John Timothy Schooley, at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as he got off a flight from China.

The 10-year-old died riding the Verruckt slide - certified as the tallest water slide in the world in 2014 by the Guinness Book of World Records.

According to Schooley's indictment, the incident occurred when the trio's raft went airborne, colliding with overhead hoops and netting affixed to the water slide.

Both Henry and Schooley were hit with multiple other felony charges, as were the park and former operations director Tyler Austin Miles, who was hit with an involuntary murder charge.

'We as a company and as a family will fight these allegations and have confidence that once the facts are presented it will be clear that what happened on the ride was an unforeseeable accident, ' a company spokesman said last week after Henry's arrest.

Authorities in Texas say the co-owner of a water park who has been charged in the decapitation death of a 10-year-old boy has been extradited to Kansas. The "rushed project and lack of expertise" resulted in the company skipping "fundamental steps in the design process".

John Schooley, designer of the "Verruckt" water slide.

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The indictment listed 13 injuries during the 182 days the ride was in operation, including two concussions. He was the son of Republican state Rep. Scott Schwab, of Olathe, and the family reached settlements of almost $20 million with Schlitterbahn and various companies associated with the design and construction of the waterslide.

The grand jury accused Miles and other executives of ignoring design flaws and industry safety standards during the slide's construction.

The indictment claims Schooley was responsible for doing "the math" that went into the slide's design and signed an operations manual claiming the ride met all American Society for Testing and Materials standards.

The indictment states that neither Schooley nor Henry had the technical expertise to build the ride which was meant to impress the makers of a Travel Channel documentary, NBC reported.

Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry is expected to be returned Tuesday night from Texas where he has been jailed on murder charges filed in Wyandotte County.

"If we actually knew how to do this, and it could be done that easily, it wouldn't be that spectacular", Schooley allegedly said, according to the indictment.

  • Rogelio Becker