Lawmakers reach out to colleague, Scott Schwab and family after water park death

This June 2016 photo provided by David Strickland shows Caleb Thomas Schwab posing with his father Scott Schwab, a Kansas state lawmaker from Olathe. Caleb died Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016, while riding the Verruckt, a water slide that's billed as the world's largest, at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kan. (David Strickland/David Strickland via AP)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Lawmaker Scott Schwab lost his son Caleb Schwab in the accident at Schlitterbahn water park Sunday.

Fellow lawmakers were at the park, because it was legislative day.

“Caleb, when he was getting ready to get on the ride, he was excited because it was his first time to ride and ride,” says Rep. Gail Finney of Wichita. “He was taking a picture, and he was smiling and happy, just like my children, they were talking about getting on that Verruckt ride.”

Finney said her family was behind Caleb Schwab in line, when the accident took the boy’s life.

“Well my grandkids came running over and they said GiGi, they call me GiGi, they said GiGi someone got hurt,” recalls Finney. “They had seen a lot of blood and everyone was kind of just stunned.”

Finney says she and her family were almost immediately asked to leave the park.

“So everybody was kind of just stunned and while we were sitting there. It went from a lot of noise to just silence. And then they just started ushering everybody out to go down one side of the sidewalk so emergency vehicles could come in,” says Finney. “But on the way back it was just complete silence you know, no one wanted to talk.”

Finney is one of many Kansas lawmakers reaching out now to the family.

“But my heart goes out to the Schwab family. I know Representative Schwab real well, we joke with each other all the time. Thoughts and prayers just go out to the family. I don’t care who you are, we come together as a family when something like this happens and I’m just grieving as much as anyone.”


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