Kansas City area water coaster officially world's tallest - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Kansas City area water coaster officially world's tallest

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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Officials with Guinness Book of World Records have certified Schlitterbahn's newest water coaster as the world's tallest.

Verruckt, which is German for insane, is expected to be a game changer for water parks.

The actual height of the water coaster has been a carefully guarded secret, with park officials only saying it's at least 17 stories tall and riders will have to climb 264 steps to the top before being flung down in four-person rafts.

"We're excited to let that out of the bag," Schlitterbahn's Layne Pitcher said about the actual record-setting height. "There's been a lot of things we have talked about, but we have not talked about the actual exact height of the ride."

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback attended the official ceremony in which Guinness certified that Verruckt stands 168 feet and 7 inches tall. This bested one in Brazil that towers 163 feet and 9 inches in the sky. Click here to read more.

The measurement was determined by where the rider starts at the top of the ride until when the ride comes to a stop.

No one has actually flown down the slide yet. The park is still testing the ride by sending down sand bags and crash dummies in rafts.

The plan is to terrify riders with a grand opening at the park on May 23.

"It's not 90 degrees, although when you stand on top of it or are looking down the structure, it does have the optical illusion, which is part of the fun of the attraction or the fear," Pitcher said. "People are going to get that lighter-than-weight feeling as they ascend down the ride."

Those screaming with their eyes closed tight will also endure a second five-story hill climb before another drop.

"It's got the longest climb of any water coaster too," Pitcher said. "You're going to descend down that and then you're blasted up the second hill. Nobody has ever tried that before with this steep of a drop."

He said it will feel like a roller coaster but riders will be on a water slide.

"We don't know the speeds yet because we are testing the speeds," he said, adding that adjustments will be made so when it opens, "the ride does exactly what it is suppose to do."

The park hopes that by being a shared experience more will ride it than some who might be too shall we say chicken to ride alone.

"It's more fun if someone is screaming in your ear," the company says in a written statement.

The ride was developed by water park innovator Jeff Henry. Four Schlitterbahn parks are operated by the Henry family. The tower of the ride was constructed from railroad tanker cars that have been cut and welded into a single vertical tower. The ride includes sensor and nozzle technology as well as a first-of-its-kind conveyor belt system.

The ride is taller than Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty. Less record-setting versions will be built at other Schlitterbahns.

A water slide opening in 2016 in Florida is also being touted as a future world's tallest water coaster.

KCTV5's Emily Rittman contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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