MaKenzie Wethington survived a 3,000 feet (1km) fall during a sky-diving incident.
MaKenzie Wethington survived a 3,000 feet (1km) fall during a sky-diving incident.

"God' catches 16-year-old who survived 1km parachute fall

A 16-YEAR-OLD girl has astonished doctors by surviving a 1km fall after her parachute failed to open properly.

Makenzie Wethington, of Joshua, Texas, was given a skydiving trip to Oklahoma as a gift from her father on her 16th birthday.

But the celebration nearly turned to tragedy after her primary parachute failed to open.

Makenzie's older sister Meagan told FOX that the parachute became tangled or failed to open properly during the jump.

She also told the US TV station that instructors had attempted to talk her through opening the chute but the girl stopped responding to instructions and may have lost consciousness.

According to trauma surgeon Dr Jeffrey Bender, Makenzie hurt her liver, broke her pelvis, lumbar spine in her lower back, a shoulder blade and several ribs and a tooth in Saturday's fall in Chickasha, Oklahoma.

"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," Dr Bender, of OU Medical Centre in Oklahoma City, said.

He said Makenzie was expected to leave the hospital's intensive care unit.

Her father, Joe, who jumped first, landed safely and watched as his daughter spiralled out of control and smashed into the ground in Oklahoma, USA.

He subsequently blamed the skydiving company for allowing his daughter to jump.

Nancy Koreen, director of sport promotion at the US Parachute Association, said its safety requirements allow someone who is 16 to make a dive with parental consent, though some places set the age higher.

Robert Swainson, owner and chief instructor at Pegasus Air Sports Centre, defended the company, saying Makenzie's father went up with his daughter and was the first to jump.

He told an Oklahoma TV station that the parachute opened "halfway" before he had to watch his daughter's struggle and spiraling freefall to the ground.

"She hit the ground hard," Meagan Wethington said. "God caught her."

More on this story at The Independent