A 10-year-old’s excitement to ride a giant water slide for the first time triggered a dormant heart condition, leading to the little girl’s tragic death.
London Eisenbeis, 10, had waited for two years to be tall enough to ride the 270-foot Super Loop Speed Slide at a water park in Michigan, the Daily Mail reported. When she finally went to ride the slide in February last year with her parents and sister, tragedy struck.
“London looked at her dad, gave two thumbs up and smiled, went down the slide and came out in cardiac arrest,” Tina Eisenbeis told The Sun. “The excitement threw her rhythm.”
London’s heart was thrown into an abnormal rhythm as her adrenaline spiked. She went into cardiac arrest as she dropped down the four-story slide.
The girl’s family were unaware at the time that London had been living with a heart condition—Long QT Syndrome.
“There were no signs of the condition, she just dropped,” Eisenbeis told the outlet. “The day before she had been doing flips in the air.”
London’s mother realized something was wrong after hearing a whistle going off and children and parents evacuating the pools.
When she walked over to find out the source of the commotion, a parent’s worst nightmare became her reality.
“[My husband] was looking down and there were sheets up and I knew it was one of my kids,” she told the outlet. “It was an awful thing.”
London was transported to hospital, where she remained for nine days on life support.
The little girl sadly passed away on Feb. 27.
London’s mother told The Sun that at the time of the incident, her daughter did not receive any medical assistance from a defibrillator—a portable device that helps electrically restore function to a heart that had stopped beating.
Eisenbeis told the publication that she believes using a defibrillator could have saved London’s life.
Since the little girl’s death, her parents have established a non-profit foundation called London Strong, which offers CPR training classes raises funds for defibrillators to be fitted in locations around the community.
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This Foundation was created in memory of London Eisenbeis who passed away from Long QT heart condition. We are a (501(C)3 nonprofit organization that brings focus to Long QT and other heart related conditions in order to save lives. We will accomplish this by stressing the importance of heart screening for children and emphasizing the importance of CPR/AED training. To do this we offer CPR/AED classes for a small cost, as well as refresher courses. With the help of you, we are able to place AED’s throughout the community in an effort to save lives. London had a love of animals, especially cats, so the foundation will also make charitable donations to pet rescues. #londonstrongfoundation #londonstrong💙 #aeds #aedssavelives #aed #cpr #cprsaveslives #cpr #londoneisenbeis #longqtsyndrome #childheart #heartscreening #heartscreeningssavelives
She hopes the work of the foundation—and spreading the word of the circumstances of her daughter’s tragic death—can save lives.
The 17-Story Slide that Killed Caleb Schwab
The 10-year-old’s tragic death recalls the case of Caleb Schwab, who was killed while going down a 17-story-tall Verrückt (German for “insane”) waterslide at Kansas City’s Schlitterbahn Water Park on Aug. 7, 2016.
Caleb, also 10, was going down the slide when he went airborne and hit a metal rod that held the safety netting in place, resulting in the boy’s decapitation.
The two other passengers in the raft, sisters Hannah Barnes and Matraca Baetz, both suffered serious facial injuries, The Mirror reported.
Several people have faced criminal charges in connection with the incident.
Among them were two Schlitterbahn maintenance employees, David Hughes and John Zalsman, both acquitted on Oct. 18, 2018.
A judge also dismissed second-degree murder charges on Feb. 22 against the water park owner, the designer of the 17-story slide, and a general contractor.
Wyandotte County Judge Robert Burns cited improper evidence in dropping second-degree murder charges against Schlitterbahn owner Jeff Henry, designer John Schooley, and general contractor Henry and Sons Construction Co. The judge also dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge against operations manager Tyler Miles, The Kansas City Star reported.
While making his ruling, Burns noted the tragedy of Caleb’s death.
“I obviously recognize that the circumstances and events giving rise to these indictments are indisputably tragic,” Burns said. “A young child’s life was lost and his troubling death was mourned by family, friends and the entire Kansas City community and beyond.”
Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in a statement: “We welcome today’s decision which dismissed the charges against all defendants. We are thankful for all the support and encouragement we’ve received.”
The evidence included video from a Travel Channel show documenting construction of the Verrückt, in which Henry and others emphasized the risks to riders on a raft dropping 17 stories before climbing a second, 50-foot hump.
Part of the reason a Wyandotte County judge dismissed the #Schlitterbahn case is because the Kansas AG office improperly presented this Travel Channel video of the Verruckt.
A child died on the ride which resulted in claims of negligence by the owners. @41actionnews pic.twitter.com/TB50uTYF6a
— Steven Dial (@StevenDialTV) February 22, 2019
The slide never operated again and has been torn down.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.