Sixteen-year-old Makenzie Wethington, of Texas, wanted to celebrate her birthday by going skydiving with her dad in Oklahoma. During her parachute jump, though no one is sure why yet, Wethington plummeted more than 3,000 feet to the ground. Doctors at Oklahoma University Medical Center, who treated Washington for her injuries, are shocked that she was able to survive such a terrifying fall.
“I don’t know the particulars of the accident as I wasn’t there. But if she truly fell 3,000 feet, I have no idea how she survived,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bender, according to The Associated Press.
Wethington and her father, Joe, went skydiving in Oklahoma because the legal age for skydiving in Texas is 18. In Oklahoma, safety requirements allow for people age 16 and older to skydive with parental consent. The pair went to Pegasis Air Sports Center, where Robert Swainson is the owner and chief instructor. They participated in a six hour training session before diving. Joe went up in the plane with his daughter and jumped before her. He landed without any issues. During Wethington’s jump, however, her parachute malfunctioned causing her to spiral downward.
Though Joe admits to having brought Wethington to the skydiving facility, he did express regret about the decision. “I don’t think she should have been allowed at 16 to go up there and perform that type of jump, no matter what I say or she says, she shouldn’t have been allowed,” Joe Wethington said at a news conference, according to DallasNews.com. “I find it very hard to believe that the rules and regulations in Oklahoma are that lax. I think there is a flaw there somewhere, and I don’t think it’s through the state of Oklahoma. I think it’s the company. I’m not sure.”
Possibly anticipating a lawsuit from the Wethington family, Swainson told reporters that Pegasis Air Sports Center took every possible precaution to ensure Wethington’s safety. That included giving her step-by-step instructions via an ear piece during her jump. “It was correctable, but corrective action didn’t appear to have been taken,” said Swainson, who has run the business for close to 30 years.
Wethington was reported to be in “good” condition Tuesday, despite having injuries to her liver, pelvis, lumbar spine, shoulder blade, and ribs. She is expected to leave the intensive care unit very soon.