The parents of Caleb Schwab, the 10-year-old boy killed in August on the world’s tallest water slide, have spoken out for the first time about their son’s tragic death.
“Six went to the park and five came back,” said Scott Schwab in an interview with Good Morning America on Monday morning.
He was referring to the day his son, Caleb, was decapitated in front of his older brother at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City.
Scott and his wife, Michelle, recalled the moments before Caleb and his 12-year-old brother Nathan went to the top of the 170-foot slide.
“Before they took off I said, ‘Brothers stick together’ and [Caleb] said, ‘I know, dad,’” Scott said.
Because the two boys were too small to ride together, Nathan went down the slide first – called Verrückt (German for ‘insane’) – and waited for Caleb at the bottom.
“[Nathan] was screaming, ‘He flew from Verrückt, he flew from Verrückt,’ ” Caleb’s mother Michelle said.
Michelle said she ran to the scene but was stopped by a man who wouldn’t let her get any closer. “He just kept saying, ‘No, trust me, you don’t want to go any further,’” she said.
Caleb was found dead at the bottom of the water slide in the pool. Police confirmed to People that he had been decapitated.
Scott said he was in a state of shock and approached a man hoping to get some answers: “I said, ‘I just need to hear it from you, is my son dead.’ And he just shook his head, and I said, ‘I need to hear it from you, is he dead?’ And he said, “Yes, your son is dead.”‘
When asked whether the family blamed anyone, Scott said: “It’s an accident, but there is an accounting because someone was negligent.”
Going forward, they are trying to move on by keeping their son’s memory alive.
The Schwabs told ABC News they are grateful for the overwhelming messages of support they have received from around the world: “We’re still hurting but we’re going to be okay.”