TOPEKA — The huge Kansas City, Kansas, waterslide on which a 10-year-old boy recently died was built in a state known for its light regulation of amusement park rides.
The company also lobbied legislators to help ensure that it remained responsible for its own inspections.
Kansas mandates annual inspections of permanent rides but allows private inspectors to do the checks, rather than requiring state inspections.
The state does only random audits of operators’ records, and there are no additional local safety regulations for the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City.
Before Kansas considered imposing inspection requirements for amusement rides in 2008, a Schlitterbahn lobbyist urged lawmakers to allow large parks to handle their own inspections.
States’ regulations of amusement rides are facing scrutiny following the death Sunday of Caleb Thomas Schwab at the park. He was the son of state Rep. Scott Schwab.
Earlier Friday, Gov. Sam Brownback said he wants the state to review its regulation of amusement rides.
Brownback told reporters that he’s hoping state legislators spend significant time examining the state’s law on amusement parks.
He said, “I think that all needs to be looked at now in light of this tragedy.”
Kansas requires operators of permanent rides to “self-inspect” their rides at least once a year and maintain records. The state Department of Labor randomly audits those records, but Schlitterbahn’s documents hadn’t been audited for four years.