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Makenzie Wethington: Miracle skydiving mishap, teen survives 3,500 ft. freefall

today.com
today.com
Mackenzie Wethington, 16, inside of the 1958 Cessna that she later jumped from.

Makenzie Wethington has been called a “miracle child,” and it would be hard to disagree. The 16-year-old Texas teen is recovering in an Oklahoma hospital after a skydiving trip went awry and she plummeted 3,500 feet and slammed into the ground, reports the Huffington Post on Tuesday.

Dad Joe Wethington took his daughter skydiving on Monday to celebrate her 16th birthday. The pair chose the Pegasus Air Sports Center in Chickasha, Okla. and were trained on a “static line jump” – a solo jump where the skydiver’s parachute is pulled automatically for them as they exit the plane.

Makenzie’s parachute opened, but not fully, and the teen started spinning at a high rate of speed. Wethington, who had jumped before his daughter and landed safely, watched horror-struck as Mackenzie plummeted two-thirds of a mile before crashing into the ground.

The teen suffered a lacerated liver and kidney, broken teeth, and fractures in multiple vertebrae, along with breaks in her ribs and her pelvis.

Despite her multiple injuries, she is fortunate to be alive, a point not taken lightly by her family.

“She’s a miracle,” Joe Wethington exclaimed. “She’s a miracle child.”

Sister Meagan Wethington agreed. “She hit the ground hard. God caught her.”

Bob Swainson, the owner of Pegasus Air Sports Center, said the Wethingtons are welcome to jump again, but also placed the blame on Mackenzie. Swainson declined to comment on the specific error.

“Once all the training is over, and we’re happy with everything, then we can go and make the dive, but she didn’t do what she was supposed to do,” Swainson said.