Little girl ‘dies from excitement’ after cardiac arrest halfway down 270ft water slide
A 10-year-old girl from Michigan tragically died from an underlying heart condition as she travelled down a 270-foot water slide.
London Eisenbeis had been waiting two years to be deemed tall enough to go on the Super Loop Speed Slide - the biggest slide at Zehnder's Splash Village in Frankenmuth - which has a 48in minimum height requirement for riders.
However, as the seemingly "very healthy" little girl launched herself down the chute on February 18, 2018, she suffered a cardiac arrest, with doctors stating it was "excitement" that killed her.
Unbeknown to her family and friends, London had been suffering from the rare and potentially fatal condition, Long QT syndrome, which can cause serious irregular heart rhythms.
"London looked at her dad, gave two thumbs up and smiled, went down the slide and came out in cardiac arrest," her mother Tina said. "The excitement threw her rhythm. The slide she went down has a heartbeat sound at the top that my husband said made it even scarier. Who would have ever thought she would come out the bottom without one?"
Tina was the other side of the park when she heard from a woman that someone had "drowned". After running over to the slide, she came across her husband, London's father Jerry.
"[Jerry] was looking down and there were sheets up and I knew it was one of my kids," she said. "It was an awful thing. There were no signs of the condition. She just dropped. The day before, she had been doing flips in the air."
The little girl, described by her mother as someone who "just loved everybody," was rushed to Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, before being airlifted to the University of Michigan's children's hospital.
Doctors told her parents she had suffered severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen and she was put on life support. London fought for nine days in hospital, before having another cardiac arrest and passing away on February 27.
She was laid to rest on March 3 in a dress she had picked out herself a few weeks before for her school's daddy-daughter dance.
"She was buried in the dress," Tina, who is from Grand Blanc, told The Sun. "I didn't have a chance to buy shoes. She looked like an angel with her dress and no shoes. She really did look like a sleeping beauty."
She added: "She was a gymnast on a team, very very into sport and loved her family. She had to be the centre of attention all the time, the class clown. She always wanted to see everybody be happy, she never wanted to see anybody sad."
Her grieving mother has spoken publicly about her daughter's death in order to raise awareness of hidden heart conditions, as well as the importance of using defibrillators in incidents like these.
The machine, which delivers a dose of electric current (often called a countershock) to the heart that helps it reestablish the normal rhythm, was not used on the 10-year-old.
Following London's death, Tina trained to become an instructor for the American Heart Association, and she and Jerry set up the non-profit London Strong Foundation in their daughter's name.
In a message to parents out there, she says: "You never know when it's going to happen. You never think it's going to happen to you and this is not a club you want to be part of. Cherish every moment you have with your family."