Hutch family: Verruckt malfunctioned and "the raft went airborne"

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. A family from Hutchinson says when they went down the Verruckt last month something malfunctioned. Now they're wondering if a similar incident, could've caused 10-year-old Caleb Schwab's death.

Jon Powell's family took a trip to Schlitterbahn and mustered the courage to ride the Verruckt three weeks ago.

"They called me when they were climbing up the 270-some stairs to get up there," Powell said.

But they say something went wrong.

"They called me (again) right when they got off and were kind of in a panic, like, you're not going to believe what just happened," Powell said.

Powell's daughter, son-in-law, and eight-year-old granddaughter were sliding down the Verruckt when they say their raft went airborne. Powell says Schlitterbahn management met his family at the end of the ride.

"There was tons of staff like are you okay? They're like well yeah we're okay," Powell said.

"They told them, it's something that doesn't happen. It's not supposed to happen. They were obviously concerned. When they saw the raft gain height, get away from the slide," he said.

Sunday, Powell says his family was all together for a birthday party. When they heard about Schwab dying on the Verruckt. Investigators are still looking into what went wrong but Powell's family can't help wondering if there's a connection.

"Thinking, oh my gosh. The same thing likely happened where the raft went airborne and this young little guy was killed. It makes our family sick," Powell said.

Powell says it also has his family wondering, if they could've done something more to help prevent the accident.

"Should we have pushed this matter a little more? To make them maybe close it down at that point," he said. "For someone to die on that ride. Just, unimaginable. I am so, so sorry for that family."

Powell says park management did make sure his family was okay at the scene three weeks ago, but didn't take down any contact information or follow up with what caused the alleged malfunction.