CHICKASHA, Okla. – It has been a year since a tragic skydiving accident in Oklahoma almost claimed the life of a Texas teenager.
Makenzie Wethington had just turned 16-years-old and wanted to fulfill a goal of jumping out of a plane.
In Texas, skydiving laws require customers be at least 18-years-old before stepping inside the plane.
However, Oklahoma allows 16-year-olds to make the jump, which is when Wethington found Pegasus Air Sport in Chickasha.
Her excitement turned to panic when her parachute malfunctioned and she plummeted 3,500 feet to the ground.
“I remember jumping out of the plane and looking up and seeing there was a complication with the parachute, so I started kicking my feet like I was taught in the class,” Makenzie said six months after the accident. “I looked up and it still wasn’t fixing so I tried to pull the togs apart and I just was not strong enough to fight off the wind. So, I just remember screaming and I blacked out.”
She suffered injuries to her pelvis, lumbar spine, shoulder blade, ribs and teeth.
“It was painful to walk because I had a broken scapula and clavicle and I couldn’t put weight on my legs, so I was having to put it all on my upper body,” she said. “But I was determined because I did not want to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.”
One year later, she is practically pain-free.
For the anniversary of the accident, Wethington made the trip back to Oklahoma to visit the Chickasha ambulance crew who came to her rescue.
“Meeting them was just the best day of my life,” she said.
An FAA report cleared Pegasus Air Sport of any wrongdoing that led to the accident.