Teenager Lives After Plunging 3,000ft in Skydiving Mishap

"I have no idea how she survived" says trauma surgeon

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Skydiving team

A 16-year-old girl is alive and stable after falling 3,000ft to the ground during a sky diving accident near Chickasha, Oklahoma over the weekend. Makenzie Wethington’s miraculous survival follows a nightmarish accident when the teen’s parachute deployed but malfunctioned and did not properly open.

Doctors at Oklahoma University’s Medical Center, where Wethington is being treated, reported that she damaged her liver during the collision and broke her “pelvis, lumbar spine in her lower back, a shoulder blade and several ribs,” according to the Associated Press. Despite the myriad injuries, Wethington was in good condition and expected to leave the facility’s intensive care unit soon.

“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, a trauma surgeon at OU Medical Center, told AP.

According to Robert Swainson, the owner and chief instructor at Pegasus Air Sports Center, the chute malfunction was correctable and Wethington had been trained to rectify the problem but was unable to complete the procedure in time.