Schlitterbahn water park company is keeping the ride's exact height secret until an official measuring event this spring. But they promise it will exceed the height of the current world-record-holding slide in Brazil.
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV/AP) -
At about 17 stories tall, a water slide opening this spring in the Kansas City area is being touted as a contender for the tallest and fastest in the world.
The Schlitterbahn water park and resort company is keeping the ride's exact height secret until an official measuring event this spring. But they are confident that it will set a world record.
"It's 264 steps. Once you climb all of those, you are staring down a 17-story drop that takes you down. It's about 600 feet of slide. We are not announcing the height of the drop yet. We're holding that until we open the ride in May," said Layne Pitcher, spokesman for Schlitterbahn.
But officials promise it will exceed the height of the current world-record-holding slide - the Insano, Spanish for insane - at Beach Park outside the city of Fortaleza, Brazil. It has a height of almost 164 feet. Riders on the Brazilian slide have been clocked at 65 mph - a speed Schlitterbahn vows it can top.
Thrill seekers will get their first chance to ride the Verrückt - German for insane - when the KCK water park opens May 23. The company hopes the ride will become a destination attraction.
"We have always been family friendly, but this will attract those adrenaline junkies who are always looking for that next biggest, coolest thrill," Pitcher said.
After the 264-step climb to the deck at the top of the tower, riders will hurtle downward in four-person inflatable rafts. At the bottom of the initial plummet, riders will confront a five-story hill. They will be propelled up and over that hill for the final descent to the ride's finish.
Pitcher will be among those white-knuckled riders.
"It's amazing to see what you can see. It gives me the heebie-jeebies, but I'll definitely be one of the folks that will be heading down," Pitcher said. "Nobody has ever built anything like this. It's going to take new technology to get people up that second hill."
Jeff Henry, a Schlitterbahn co-owner who designed the ride, said in a news release that the new slide would be a "game changer" for the industry.
With the construction phase almost complete, Pitcher said the ride will undergo extensive testing before anyone is flung downward. Engineers have already tested scale models.
"Safety is paramount to us. We want to provide a thrilling ride, but safety comes first," he said. "We want to make sure people are having a great time and getting scared out of their wits, but that they are also doing it in a safe way."
Similar slides are being built at Schlitterbahn's other parks, but none will be as tall as the one under construction in KCK.
"Not only will it be the tallest water slide in the world, it's going to be the first mega blaster slide in the world," Pitcher said.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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