Riders take plunge off world's tallest water slide in Kansas

Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:53pm EDT
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By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY Kan. (Reuters) - The world's tallest water slide opened Thursday to the shrieks of riders who traveled in some cases hundreds of miles to plunge at up to 50 miles per hour (80 km per hour) down what a Kansas water park calls "Verruckt," the German word for insane.

"Awesome, it felt like we were in the air the whole time," Nick Reeves, 14, the front-seat passenger for the public's first ride on the slide, said after taking the plunge.

Reeves said he, his twin brother, Chris, and father, Troy Reeves, made the trek from Arizona to take the ride.

Verruckt stands 168 feet 7 inches (51.4 meters) high, towering over the Schlitterbahn Waterpark and rivaling the height of Niagara Falls. Taller than the Statue of Liberty, from toe to torch, the climb to the top is 264 steps.

 Riders are strapped into a raft that has room for three people and dives 17 stories in a near vertical descent before getting propelled back up five stories by rushing water and plunging a second time to its end.

The descent takes 15 to 20 seconds.

"It was breathtaking," said Paige Rife, 17, of Olathe, Kansas. "It was actually steeper than I thought. I screamed all the way down."

The slide is nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) taller than the previous record holder, a slide in Rio de Janeiro called Mount Kilimanjaro, the Guinness Book of World Records said on its website.   Continued...

Cory Schiffman, from Boston, celebrates as he comes in for a landing after riding the Verruckt waterslide during its public opening at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas July 10, 2014.  REUTERS/Dave Kaup