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Opening of world's tallest water slide delayed

Friday, June 27, 2014 | 3:42 p.m. CDT
Kansas City's Schlitterbahn waterpark is home to the world's tallest slide, Verrückt. A spokeswoman for the waterpark said crews are still trying to fix a mechanical problem with the slide. Unless it can be fixed by Sunday, the ride's official opening may be delayed for a third time.

KANSAS CITY — With nearly half of its season already in the books, a water park in Kansas has been forced to delay the opening of the world's tallest water slide for the third time and hasn't set a new date for its debut.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City announced Thursday that Verruckt, a 17-story, 168-foot-tall water slide, would not open Sunday as scheduled. The park's news release did not give a reason for the latest delay, though earlier this week two media sneak preview days were canceled because of problems with a conveyor system that hauls 100-pound rafts to the top of the slide.

Verruckt, which means "insane" in German, was certified as the world's tallest water slide in April by Guinness World Records. The slide sends riders plummeting at 60 to 70 mph on four-person rafts.

The ride's initial opening date was moved from May 23 to June 5 to allow for more testing, then pushed back again to June 29. Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said earlier this week that park officials would not hesitate to delay operation again for however long it takes to make sure the slide is safe.

"We'll take embarrassment before putting someone in the slide when it is not ready," she said.

Sunday's opening had been scheduled to coincide with a one-hour special on the Travel Channel titled "Xtreme Waterparks" documenting the designing and building of Verruckt.

A promotional video for the show includes footage of two men riding a raft down a half-size test model of the slide and going slightly airborne as it crests the top of the first big hill.

Schlitterbahn's season started May 23, and the park will be open daily through Aug. 17, after which it will be open two more weekends before the season ends, according to the park's website.


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