Squamish woman injured in U.S. parachute accident back in B.C. 

Family facing significant medical bills from Arizona incident

click to enlarge SUBMITTED PHOTO - turbulence trouble Squamish's Kenzie Markey suffered multiple broken bones and a collapsed lung when her parachute failed to deploy in Arizona.
  • submitted photo
  • turbulence trouble Squamish's Kenzie Markey suffered multiple broken bones and a collapsed lung when her parachute failed to deploy in Arizona.

Kenzie Markey, 32, is resting in Lions Gate hospital after being transported from the U.S. following a near-death parachute accident.

She was transferred from Phoenix, Ariz., Tuesday night, April 22, to a waiting bed at the North Vancouver hospital.

"Things just came together really, really quickly," said Kenzie's dad, Joe.

"A bed became available and an air ambulance came forward at a cost way below what we were expecting."

Nobody knows how far Kenzie fell when her parachute failed April 6, but the impact caused serious injuries over her entire body.

The Squamish resident was visiting Phoenix to do a series of parachute jumps, and it was during her final jump that her parachute failed and she plummeted to the ground. Those jumping with her didn't see what happened, but they believe her parachute failure was caused by air turbulence.

An air force crew happened to be in the area and they likely saved Kenzie's life by rushing her to hospital, said Joe.

"It never ceases to amaze me what a tough nut she is — she was conscious when they took her to hospital," he said from his home in Nova Scotia, adding that his oldest son is in Phoenix with Kenzie's mother.

"She's asked about her dog, which is back in Whistler, and she complained about tasteless hospital food."

In her conscious moments she has asked for orange juice and suggested that with all the machinery around her there has to be a coffee maker.

Kenzie suffered serious facial and head injuries along with broken ribs and a collapsed lung in the fall. Other broken bones include a femur, a foot, an elbow and her pelvis.

Kenzie's good friend Kelley Richardson, who lives in Victoria, said the American medical bills are up over $500,000 and Kenzie's insurance company reportedly isn't covering the costs because she was skydiving. Richardson has launched a fundraising effort through Fundrazr.com.

With the flight arranged Joe said he felt optimistic about the fundraising effort to support Kenzie's recovery.

"I was able to get a demand loan from a local credit union because of how well the fundraiser is going," he said.

More than $19,000 has been donated to the medical assistance fund so far.

Richardson described Kenzie as an experienced jumper with more than 100 parachute adventures.

"She was squeezing in one more jump before she was scheduled to come home," said Richardson.

Kenzie grew up in Nova Scotia, but her father said that from a young age she was drawn to the mountains. She lived in Pemberton, but recently moved to Squamish, where she has been working as an electrician.

Joe described Kenzie's ordeal as a rollercoaster ride for his family.

"I know she's a fighter and she's going to make it," he said.

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