Schlitterbahn has no new launch date for Verruckt water slide - WNEM TV 5

MUST SEE VIDEO

Schlitterbahn has no new launch date for Verruckt water slide

Posted: Updated:
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark announced late Thursday night that the world's tallest water slide won't open after all on Sunday.

This is the third time that the official launch of Verruckt has been delayed.

Layne Pitcher, a spokesman for the water park, said officials do not have a new projected opening date.

This is the first time that a delay has occurred and officials did not offer a new launch date.

He also declined to say whether the conveyor system is to blame for the delay or not. The cancellation of media rides this week was blamed on the conveyor system.

Verruckt, which means insane in German, is 17 stories tall and riders will have to navigate 264 steps to the top before they can take the heart-pounding plunge.

Some park officials have successfully ridden the ride during overnight testing.

Verruckt co-creator Jeff Henry, who is co-owner of the Texas-based Schlitterbahn franchise, is one of those to take the plunge. He told USA Today that a variety of issues have delayed the official launch to the public.

"We had many issues on the engineering side," said Henry, who owns 60 patents for innovations such as land-based water surfing and uphill water coasters. "Our correction coefficients were all off. Models didn't show air and water friction. A lot of our math was based on roller coasters at first, and that didn't translate to a water slide like this. No one had ever done anything like this before."

He told the newspaper that it was the biggest thrill he's ever had.

"It's like jumping off the Empire State Building. It's the scariest thing I've done," he said.

But some people say anyone would be insane to ride it after all the delays.

"I heard when they tested it were dummies flying out," Gladstone resident Stacey Williamson said.

Rumors are still out there, even though Schlitterbahn says no dummies have flown out of the ride.

Whatever the issues, Henry's crews at his direction tore down the ride to create a ride with less steep hills. USA Today said the changes cost an extra $1 million.

Sunday's opening was to have coincided with the premiere Sunday night of the Travel Channel's Xtreme Waterparks, which will feature behind-the-scenes information on the construction of the slide at the park in KCK.

Thursday night's announcement follows Schlitterbahn on Wednesday canceling the scheduled media rides on Thursday and Friday. Officials at the time had said they still hoped to open on Sunday.

Pitcher on Wednesday afternoon said that the conveyer system that pulls the rafts up Verruckt's slide was experiencing some problems. He said workers had got the system to function properly, but wanted to continue to do more testing.

Chopper5 was over Schlitterbahn on Wednesday afternoon when two rafts were launched. The first raft navigated the first slide but couldn't make it up the first hill. Instead, the raft went backward in the spray of the water. The second raft successfully navigated the rides.

No one was on board either ride.

On Thursday, Chopper5 was over the ride when a raft sluggishly navigated the ride's hills. No riders were on board.

A sign at the park touts the slide for bringing in $2 million to the local economy before it even opens, but some out-of-towners aren't sure they'll be back to spend money on this slide or Schlitterbahn after this.

"It is disappointing. The website looks like it is up and running. We bought passes online, got up here and decided to avoid spending the money on it," said Chris Lewis from Tennessee. "For us, this was like a one-stop opportunity, but I don't know how it works out for the rest of Kansas City. I'm sure it is disappointing to everybody."

The Richter family from San Antonio had come up to ride Verruckt and were disappointed that it isn't open yet.

They hope to return and ride it.

Many are eagerly anticipating Verruckt's freefall while others are an emphatic no.

Doug Flora of Haas & Wilkerson was expected to be among the first to ride Verruckt when it opened for the media and others.

While he's disappointed by the cancellation, he knows Schlitterbahn is doing everything it can to protect riders.

"I feel very comfortable that this will be a nice safe ride for me and also for the community," Flora said.

Verruckt's opening has been delayed multiple times. Schlitterbahn had been scheduled originally to debut the 17-story slide when the park opened for the 2014 season on May 23. But after officials said the slide was "not behaving properly" the opening was delayed until June 5. They then announced the opening would be Sunday.

Chopper5 also flew over Worlds of Fun on Thursday afternoon where no obvious work continued on the Steelhawk, which was moved to Kansas City after experiencing problems in California. The Steelhawk's opening has been delayed and a new projected launch date has not been scheduled.

Would you ride either attraction? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page. Click here.

KCTV5's Chris Oberholtz and Jamie Oberg contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

  • Fast Feedback

  • Would you ride the Verrückt?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Yes!
    35%
    5407 votes
    No
    8%
    1158 votes
    HELL NO!!
    57%
    8606 votes
Powered by WorldNow
WNEM
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, WNEM; Saginaw, MI. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.