Texas teenager, Mackenzie Wethington, received an extreme 16th birthday present from her parents. The Joshua, Texas teenager had wanted to skydive for a while, but a person has to be 18 before they can solo jump. So Mackenzie Wethington and her father packed up and headed for Chickasha, Oklahoma where 16-year-olds can jump on their own.
Joe Wethington and his daughter were required to sit in on six hours of training with the Pegasus Air Sports Center instructors. During the training, skydivers are instructed on how to handle every possible scenario. Bob Swainson is the head of the Pegasus Air Sports Center, as well as one of the instructors. He told the Dallas/Fort Worth Fox News affiliate, “Parachutes sometime have minor irregularities with them, and that’s what the training is about. We go over a whole series of scenarios and we go through some drills.”
Just as any teenager would before fulfilling a dream moment, Mackenzie and her dad posed for pictures together before boarding the plane. They loaded up with one other man who was scheduled to jump and their instructors. As the plane reached 3,500 feet, Joe and Mackenzie prepared for the moment of a lifetime.
The two did not have to tandem jump, as they were on a static line attached to the plane that would deploy their parachutes automatically. Joe jumped first and began his fall back towards the earth. His parachute opened without any problems. But as the Texas father landed and looked back, all he could see was his teenage daughter plummeting to the ground. Her parachute was not open.
According to Mackenzie’s sister Meagan, the primary parachute did not open. There is an emergency parachute and ground control was trying to talk her through opening it. But Mackenzie must have blacked out because she was not responding. Bob Swainson, who was on the plane, saw it differently.
“The jumper left the airplane. The parachute appeared to open ok. Soon after the opening the parachute started to rotate. There are a number of technical reasons why that could have happened possibly caused by the jumper herself. The jumper didn’t sought out the rotation in accordance with the training she received earlier and contented to rotate to the ground and hurt herself.”
Mackenzie was never able to open her parachute. She slammed into the earth not far from her father who rushed to her side. Her father Joe said she was screaming and asking him to rub her back. Medical responders rushed her to the local hospital, where miraculously, she is alive and recovering today.
“Her vertebrae broke in half,” said Meagan. “Her pelvic bone completely split in half. She has more broken bones in her back. She has two broken ribs … her teeth.”
Mackenzie’s mom, Holly, was in complete shock that her daughter survived. “Nobody survives that,” she told reporters. Her father believes it was an absolute miracle. Her sister Meagan summed up the family’s feeling, “God’s hand caught her. Had to have been.”