Makenzie Wethington Awarded $760K for Skydiving Accident in Oklahoma - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Makenzie Wethington Awarded $760K for Skydiving Accident in Oklahoma

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    A Texas teenager has been awarded $760,000 after she was badly injured in a skydiving accident in Oklahoma. (Published Tuesday, April 18, 2017)

    A North Texas teenager has been awarded $760,000 after she was badly injured in a skydiving accident in Oklahoma, but it is doubtful she will ever receive the money.

    Makenzie Wethington was 16 in January 2014 when she said her parachute malfunctioned and she fell more than 3,000 feet to the ground in Chickasha.

    Her injuries included damage to her liver and a kidney, some bleeding in her brain, and a broken pelvis, lumbar spine in her lower back, shoulder blade and several ribs and several teeth.

    In 2014, the FAA said the teen's chute was in good, working condition when she jumped.

    Teen Injured in Skydiving Fall Speaks

    [DFW] Teen Injured in Skydiving Fall Speaks
    Sixteen-year-old Makenzie Wethington who survived a 3,000-foot fall in a skydiving accident says she blacked out after her parachute malfunctioned and doesn't remember hitting the ground. She spoke from a wheelchair Thursday during a news conference at Baylor University Medical Center.
    (Published Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014)

    Court records show the now-19-year-old Makenzie, of Joshua, was awarded $760,000 last week.

    But it is doubtful the Wethington family will ever see any of the settlement money.

    According to the family's attorney Robert Haslam, the owner of the now-closed Pegasus Air Sports in Chickasha has since left the country and is in England. Skydive instructor and owner Robert Swainson had initially said Wethington panicked and didn't follow instructions. 

    Makenzie said she blamed herself for the last three years, but the court victory proves she was not the one at fault. 

    The lawsuit said the teenager wasn't properly trained and that her parachute was inappropriate for her skill level.

    "This whole court case was to shut his business down and prove that he was wrong," Wethington said over the phone from Sam Houston State, where she now attends college. "I didn’t really go into this for monetary reward."

    Skydiving Teen's Father Pleased About New First-Time Jumper Age Limit

    [DFW] Skydiving Teen's Father Pleased About New First-Time Jumper Age Limit
    The U.S. Parachute Association will increase the minimum age for first-time skydivers nationwide to 18 years starting May 1, replacing a provision that allowed younger teens to jump with parental consent. The USPA said the change isn't related to the recent incident involving 16-year-old Makenzie Wethington who survived a fall in Oklahoma.
    (Published Tuesday, March 11, 2014)

    "He'll probably refuse to pay a nickel on the judgement, but we intend to prosecute it in London and take our judgement there if we have to," Haslam said. 

    For Makenzie's family -- they are simply grateful she has recovered and moving on with her life.

    "She is a gift and we are blessed to have her," said dad Joseph Wethington. 

    Makenzie is studying biomedical science in college and plans to become a trauma surgeon, like the ones who helped save her life.