'It was awful': Heartbreak as 10yo US girl dies of 'excitement' going down waterslide

A year after a 10-year-old girl died after going down a waterslide, her mother has opened up about her heartbreak.

London Eisenbeis from Flint, Michigan had wanted to try out the biggest slide at Splash Village water park for two years.

The Super Loop Speed Slide - which includes a four-storey drop and a 360-degree loop and has been described as "terrifying" by adults - has a minimum height restriction of four feet (1.22 metres).

As soon as she was big enough, London begged her parents to take her to the water park and they went along on February 18.

Just 45 minutes before going down the slide, London filmed herself and big sister Eden standing in the car park, gushing excitedly about entering the water park.

When the time came to try out the much-anticipated slide, London was thrilled. Visitors step into a pink capsule and an automated voice counts down from three, before the floor beneath them gives way and they go shooting down the almost-vertical slide.

London's dad Jerry accompanied her up to the top of the slide. She looked at him, gave him two thumbs up and a big smile and went flying downwards.

Tina Eisenbeis, 44, told The Sun she was waiting at the pool below. She first realised something was wrong when she heard a lifeguard blow their whistle.

"I was like, 'Oh there's probably kids messing around'," she said. "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 walked over to investigate, she saw her husband looking down at something on the ground behind some sheets.

"I knew it was one of my kids," she told The Sun.

No one knew it at the time, but London had been suffering from Long QT Syndrome, a rare condition that can cause potentially deadly arrhythmias. The excitement of going down the slide had thrown out the rhythm of her heartbeat and triggered cardiac arrest.

When London reached the bottom of the slide she had lost consciousness. She was taken to a local healthcare facility before being airlifted to the University of Michigan's children's hospital and put on life support.

She died nine days later after going into cardiac arrest again, having suffered severe brain damage from the lack of oxygen.

"I would have taken her home with the brain damage, but I'm glad she made that choice for us," Ms Eisenbeis told The Sun.

She says her happy, active daughter had seemed perfectly healthy, displaying no signs of a heart problem before they went to the water park.

"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."

Had a defibrillator been used in the moments after London collapsed, the outcome may have been different as the devices can re-establish a regular heartbeat via an electrical charge.

"The slide she went down has a heartbeat sound at the top that my husband said made it even scarier," Ms Eisenbeis says. "Who would have ever thought she would come out the bottom without one?"

After her daughter's death, Ms Eisenbeis trained as an instructor for the American Heart Association, and she and her husband set up the non-profit London Strong Foundation which distributes portable defibrillators within the local community.

"You have to respond, you don't have time to wait," she told The Sun. "I think people are afraid of defibrillators, but they're very easy to use. They're what is needed to bring back the rhythm."

She says she still cries herself to sleep most nights, and urges other parents to "cherish every moment" with their families.

"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."


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