Ten-year-old London Eisenbeis was so excited. She was finally tall enough to be able to go on the one water slide she had always wanted to ride. But, that excitement was too much for her heart.
London suffered a cardiac arrest while coming down the slide, dying before rescue workers could try to save her.
People reports, “For years, London Eisenbeis looked forward to riding the Super Loop Speed Slide at Zehnder’s Splash Village in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
"So during a family trip to the indoor water park in February 2018 when she finally made the height requirement, it came as no surprise that the 10-year-old headed straight for the slide and eagerly awaited her turn to drop down the four-story tube."
London, unbeknownst to her family, had a rare heart condition that can cause sudden arrhythmia or arrest for no apparent reason.
The condition, ‘Long QT Syndrome’ or LQTS, is an often-congenital condition that can produce a wide range of symptoms, anything from unexplained fainting to cardiac arrest and death.
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are three main types of Long QT Syndrome, each having its own triggers and risks.
“In LQTS 1, emotional stress or exercise (especially swimming) can trigger arrhythmias. In LQTS 2, extreme emotions, such as surprise, can trigger arrhythmias. In LQTS 3, a slow heart rate during sleep can trigger arrhythmias.”
According to The Sun, “To go on the slide, visitors have to step into a small, pink capsule, before its see-through door closes on them and a voice booms out 'three, two, one'.
“The floor beneath them then gives way, sending them flying down nearly 300 feet of slide and gushing water at speed."
But as ecstatic London shot through the tube, tragedy struck.
London’s devastated mom shares the tense moments leading up to her discovery of what had happened to her little girl.
“I heard a whistle go off," says Tina, 44, who was sitting on the other side of the 50,000sq ft park, waiting for her two daughters and her husband Jerry, at the time.
"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."
When she saw the sheets set up, she just knew it was one of her kids.
London had been an athlete, and a gymnast before this happened and had no prior indication of the syndrome.
"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."
"London was transported to Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw before being airlifted to the University of Michigan’s children’s hospital, where she remained for nine days on life support.
"In that time, doctors told Tina and Jerry that their daughter had gone into cardiac arrest again and suffered brain damage as a result of being deprived of too much oxygen, according to The Sun.
"On Feb. 27, London sadly passed away — a moment that Tina described as being partially bittersweet.
“I would have taken her home with the brain damage but I’m glad she made that choice for us,” Tina shared. “She fought for nine days in hospital… then she gained her angel wings.”
Since London’s tragic death in February of 2018, Tina has devoted her efforts toward advocating for the availability of Automated External Defibrillators (or AEDs) wherever the public gathers.
In London’s case, no AED was available which might have been able to shock the little girl’s heart back into rhythm and save her life.
Tina hopes that her mission will prevent any other family from having to go through what the Eisenbeis family has endured.
“London looked at her dad, gave two thumbs up and smiled, went down the slide and came out in cardiac arrest,” Tina told the outlet. “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,” she added. “Who would have ever thought she would come out the bottom without one?”