On Tuesday, Jan. 28, Fox News reported that a Texas teenager survived a skydiving accident where she fell over 3,000 feet. According to the doctors treating the lucky girl, she is in the OU Medical Center and is recovering from her numerous injuries.
On Saturday, Makenzie Wethington, 16, as flown to the OU Medical Center where she was treated by trauma surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Bender for her many broken bones and other injuries. Wethington injured her liver, and broke her pelvis, lumbar spine in her lower back, a shoulder blade, several ribs and a tooth.
At a news conference at the hospital, Bender said, “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. Bender revealed that Wethington was in good condition on Tuesday and was expected to be transferred out of the intensive care unit.
Wethington’s parents gave her and the skydiving company permission for her to skydive, however; her father, Joe Wethington is now singing a different tune claiming the company should not have allowed her to jump.
Joe Wethington said, “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. 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.”
U.S. Parachute Association director of sport promotion Nancy Koreen revealed that safety requirements do allow a child at the age of 16 to skydive with parental consent. There are some drop zones that have a higher age restriction.
Pegasus Air Sports Center owner and chief instructor, Robert Swainson quickly defended his company on Tuesday pointing out that Joe Wethington not only gave his daughter permission to jump but also went up with her and was the first one to jump from the plane.
According to Swainson, Wethington made a static-line jump which means that her parachute was connected to a lanyard that is then attacked to the plane. When the diver exits the plane, the lanyard causes the parachute to open automatically.
According to Swainson, Wethington’s chute opened the way it was supposed to but that she started spiraling downward. Swainson also pointed out that this does occasionally happen and it has nothing to do with any malfunction.
During the six to seven hour training session before anyone is allowed to jump, they are instructed how to handle the situation should the spiraling happen. Swainson went on to explain that Wethington also had a radio hookup in her helmet and was being given instructions as to what to do during the situation.
Swainson has owned the skydiving company for almost 30 years. He said, “It was correctable, but corrective action didn’t appear to have been taken.”
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