By JOANNA PRISCO
A new ride at a Kansas City, Kan., waterpark claims it will debut as the tallest and fastest water slide in the world, with an approximate 17-story drop and reaching speeds of roughly 65 mph.
The Verrückt will be "taller than Niagara Falls, taller than the Statue of Liberty from her toes to the torch" and "twice the height of the tallest wave ever surfed," the Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark announced this week. The company is declining to share exact numbers until an official measuring event accompanied by Guinness World Records in the spring, but it did reveal that Verrückt means "insane" in German.
The thrilling ride was designed by Schlitterbahn waterparks slide innovator and co-owner Jeff Henry, who repurposed pieces of railroad tanker cars to create the structure.
Despite his ability to envision an adrenaline-fueled attraction, with an uphill blast on a hill that's more than 50 feet high, Henry was described by a colleague as "camera shy" when ABC News requested his comment.
"He's such an unconventional innovator and creative thinker in this area," Schlitterbahn Waterparks spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said, adding that the Verrückt will be a "game changer" not only for the waterpark industry but for Kansas City.
"We chose Kansas City because we felt that park needed an iconic ride, something to get attention, and the city is focused on becoming a much larger tourist destination," Prosapio said.
Since 2002, the record for world's tallest waterslide has been held by Kilimanjaro at Aguas Quentes Country Club in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
If you're scared by the thought or look of a water slide that requires climbing 264 steps to begin, at least you won't be alone. Four riders are required to fill each specially designed raft before being shot through the slide course.
"Jeff Henry has been a waterpark innovator for many years and this ride really encapsulates his thinking," Prosapio said. "A lot of the other very tall rides are body slides. But this is a four-person raft and that is very much in his nature, because he likes for families and friends to be able to enjoy them together."
Early pictures of the Verrückt went viral online when one image revealed what appeared to be a 45-degree angle drop from the slide's highest point. But Prosapio said the photograph is an incomplete representation of the slide, which is still under construction.
"A tunnel made from netting will be wrapped around the slide," she said. "You won't fall out."