Doctors: Joshua teen will recover after terrifying free-fall

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by LAUREN ZAKALIK

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaalauren

WFAA

Posted on January 28, 2014 at 6:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 28 at 7:32 PM

Joshua High School sophomore Makenzie Wethington is recovering in Oklahoma after free-falling thousands of feet Saturday during a skydiving adventure for her 16th birthday.

“Makenzie jumped out of a plane but she fell in God’s hands,” said her dad, Joe, who expressed his thanks to the staff at the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City. "These people are God’s people."

Joe Wethington was fighting back tears in Oklahoma on Tuesday. He jumped out of the plane before Makenzie. Someone else was supposed to jump next, but instead, she did.

Joe watched helplessly as his teenage daughter spiraled to the ground.

“Please don’t be Makenzie... please, please God, don’t be Makenzie,” he recalled saying as he ran towards the body. “And it was.”

“If she truly fell 3,000 feet, I have no idea how she survived,” said OU Medical Center trauma surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Bender.

Bender said Makenzie suffered injuries as if she’d been hit by a car going 40 mph. From that — a miracle: Makenzie should be fine.

“There should be little or no long-term outcome from these injuries,” Dr. Bender said.

At Joshua High School, a ground effort is happening for the accident in the sky.

“When I found out it happened, I was heartbroken,” friend Allison Gillmore said.

She and Makenzie’s other friends are selling hot-pink T-shirts with the question "How Strong Are You?" on the front... and the words “Makenzie Strong” on the back to help cover her medical bills.

“Yesterday we’d sold over 500,” Gillmore said.

It's money that will be used to bring their adventurous, fun-loving friend back home to North Texas.

E-mail lzakalik@wfaa.com

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