Skydiving Texas teen faces long recovery after parachute tangles

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by MARIE SAAVEDRA

Bio | Email | Follow: @MSaavedraTV

WFAA

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 11:17 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 27 at 11:40 PM

JOSHUA, Texas — The thrill of skydiving always intrigued 16-year-old Makenzie Wethington of Joshua.

“It was her dream,” said her sister Meagan. “So my dad said, 'On your 16th birthday, I will take you skydiving.’”

Meagan said the pair went to Pegasus Air Sport in Chickasha, Oklahoma on Saturday. She got her call from her dad that afternoon.

“He was like, 'Makenzie's parachute didn't open up; it got tangled.' And I was like, 'This is not funny,'" Meagan said.

It was no joke.

Internal bleeding, broken vertebrae, and a shattered pelvis are just a few of Makenzie's many injuries. But amazingly — two days after her fall from 3,500 feet — she's breathing on her own at an Oklahoma City hospital's intensive care unit.

“She's okay. She's not dead. She could be,” Meagan said.

Bob Swainson, owner of Pegasus Air Sport, told News 8 that Makenzie's parachute did open, but that there was a problem with it, and they're not sure what created that problem.

Swainson also said Makenzie did not follow the training that was given before the jump on how to activate a second chute. He said it is too early to comment on anything else relating to the accident.

The family figures Makenzie was panicked, which is why she never deployed that second parachute.

There are questions about why she was jumping alone on her first try; whether or not any members of the skydiving staff jumped after her; and more.

The family now hiring a lawyer in hopes all their questions about what happened can be answered as Makenzie heals.

E-mail msaavedra@wfaa.com

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