(DALLAS) — The teenage girl who miraculously survived a parachute accident said Thursday that she was “strong enough to fall 3,500 feet and live.”
Makenzie Wethington, 16, emerged from Baylor Rehabilitation Center to say that she doesn’t remember much from the Jan. 25 accident when her chute malfunctioned and she plummeted to the ground.
“I know I was scared, that there was something very wrong. I think I was focused on how I could fix it and what I could do. I don’t really know…I think I went into shock,” she said. The teenager said she lost consciousness before her crash landing.
Dr. Seema Sikka, who has been overseeing Wethington’s rehabilitation, says she expects the teenager to make a full recovery. She says this is a remarkable prognosis following a fall from such a high distance.
“I’m not sure I can explain it…I’m not a physicist. It’s an amazing story,” Sikka said.
Wethington said it was difficult to convince her parents to let her go skydiving, at one point texting her mom: “Just sign the paper.” Her mother, Holly Wethington, said she is convinced since the incident that there needs to be a change in skydiving protocol for teens.
“There’s nothing that a 16-year-old would be able to do to fix the problem…not on her first time anyway. I just think something needs to be done about that,” Holly Wethington said.
But her daughter said the lessons she has taken from the incident are more personal. She says she now has a stronger belief in God, and a renewed commitment to follow her dream to join the medical profession.
“In the future I’ve always wanted to be a surgeon, and now I know I want to specialize in trauma so I can relate to the patients more. It’s given me a better look on life,” she said.
Makenzie and her family wore shirts that asked “How strong are you?” a reference to fundraising efforts from friends and family who encourage people to be “Makenzie strong.” When asked exactly what that meant, the teenager said, “Strong enough to fall 3,500 feet and live.”
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