Transcript for Dad Speaks Out After Teen Parachute Malfunction
with the latest on that 16-year-old girl who survived a 3500-foot fall after something happened to her parachute. What really happened, and when did the parachute malfunction, all very much in dispute right now -- her father is speaking out and Ryan Owens has the latest. Reporter: Moments after these pictures were snapped, that smiling young woman who just turned 16 experienced sheer terror. I just had a first-time jumper get hurt out here. Reporter: She fell from the sky more than half a mile. 3500 feet. Is she okay? No, she's not. She's on the ground moving. Reporter: She is Makenzie Wethington who this morning has a shattered spine, ribs and pelvis. Her doctor says her injuries look like she was hit by a car going 50 miles an hour. When I first saw her in the emergency department, I would have predicted she was not going to survive all this. Reporter: Her father says it can only be described by one word, miracle. Makenzie jumped out of a plane but she bell in god's hands. Reporter: Joe Wethington made the same jump before his daughter Saturday. It was his gift to her for her 16th birthday. The family drove three hours to Oklahoma because back home in Texas, you have to be 18 to skydive. Despite her age, her father says Makenzie didn't do anything wrong. We went to the class, which was inadequate. The equipment is inadequate. Reporter: Not so fast says the owner of pegasus air sports in chickasha, Oklahoma. About it, I don't feel that there was anything largely wrong with our equipment. Reporter: And he claims Makenzie for some reason did not follow the instructions he was giving her during the jump. Swainson believes her jump suffered a toggle fire, almost as soon as the tether yanked her parachute opened. He says part of the chute's harness became tangled causing the teen to first lose control of the descent before ultimately spiraling toward Earth. The problem she possibly had in my view was a relatively minor problem, would have been easily correctable. Had to do it all over, I would have not done it. Reporter: Priority number one for Makenzie's family is get the teenager better. Priority number two, to figure out exactly whatpened and the family is considering legal action. Robin. We are glad that she is doing better. We'll bring in ABC news chief legal affairs anchor Dan Abrams and about the family, the possibility of pursuing a lawsuit. Just because there's an accident, it doesn't mean you can win a lawsuit. You have to show what's called negligence meaning that they didn't use reasonable care, remember, the family here signed a very onerous release saying that death could result and I promise to the to sue in connection with this, et cetera. But just signing a release that says I promise not to sue doesn't mean you can't sue. If you can show that they didn't use reasonable care, that there was some inherent problem that they should have been able to fix, then you can still have the potential of a successful lawsuit. The owner of the parachute company is saying -- Already suggesting that it was her fault that's saying that she didn't follow the training, so you already see the seeds of what could be a defense. These are the kinds of cases, though, that they want to settle and -- Everyone wants to make it go away. It's a miracle that this 16-year-old is still alive. Absolutely. And that's the paramount thing. Dan, thank you.
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