TULSA, Okla. — 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.
USPA spokeswoman Nancy Koreen says the change isn't related to the recent incident in Oklahoma in which a 16-year-old girl plummeted 3,000 feet to the ground after her parachute malfunctioned. The teenager, Makenzie Wethington, survived and is recovering from her injuries.
In an email to The Associated Press, Koreen says raising the age limit has been an issue that the USPA and the skydiving industry "have been struggling with the past couple of years."
Koreen says skydiving equipment manufacturers have already instituted 18 as the minimum age for use of their gear "in reaction to an increasingly litigious society."