A young girl died after her excitement to go on a water slide triggered a heart attack as she was halfway down.
10-year-old London Eisenbeis was excited to go on the 273ft-long slide at Zehnder’s Splash Village in Michigan, USA, last year after waiting two years to be deemed tall enough.
But the thrill threw London’s heart into an abnormal rhythm, and caused a cardiac arrest. The young girl was rushed to hospital, where she was put on life support, but tragically died nine days later, on February 27, 2018.
Though the 10-year-old seemed ‘very healthy’, she had unknowingly been suffering from a rare and potentially fatal condition called Long QT syndrome, which can cause serious irregular heart rhythms.
London’s mum, Tina, spoke to The Sun about what happened at the water park, explaining she was sitting on the other side of the park waiting for her two daughters and her husband, Jerry, at the time.
I heard a whistle go off.
I was like, ‘Oh, there’s probably kids messing around.’ But within maybe minutes I started seeing women looking terrified. One woman was walking with two children, grabbing them.
She said, ‘Somebody’s drowned over there.’ I kind of got nervous.
Tina went to see what was going on, and saw sheets up surrounding the scene and her husband looking on.
The mother continued:
I knew it was one of my kids.
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 slide, which is the biggest at Zehnder’s Splash Village, has a small capsule at the top with a see-through door which closes to encompass the rider.
The floor beneath them then gives way, causing the person to drop at speed onto the slide.
Tina spoke about London’s final actions, saying:
London looked at her dad, gave two thumbs up and smiled, went down the slide and came out in cardiac arrest. 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?
Attempts were made to save London’s life at the water park, though they did not include a defibrillator, which can reestablish a regular heartbeat via an electrical charge.
The young girl was buried on the day of her school’s father-daughter dance, wearing the dress she’d previously picked out for the event.
Following London’s death, Tina trained to become an instructor for the American Heart Association, and she and her husband set up a non-profit foundation in their daughter’s name.
The London Strong Foundation grants defibrillators within the local community in an effort to save lives.
Our thoughts are with London’s friends and family at this tragic time.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.