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Updated: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:59:23 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Kenzie Markey, injured skydiving in Arizona, returning home to B.C.



During a jump over Arizona April 6, Kenzie Markey's parachute collapsed, sending her plummeting to the ground. Facebook

During a jump over Arizona April 6, Kenzie Markey's parachute collapsed, sending her plummeting to the ground. Facebook

Kenzie Markey's family has managed to secure an air ambulance to bring her home from Arizona, where her medical bills have climbed to more than $500,000 since her skydiving accident April 6.

Markey's medical ordeal began when her parachute collapsed while she was on a jump in Arizona.  The veteran 32-year-old skydiver, who has more than a hundred jumps under her belt, was sent plummeting to the ground. 

The accident left her with serious injuries, including swelling of the brain, a collapsed lung, a broken femur, pelvis and eye socket.

Her father, Joe Markey, said they know very little of what happened.

“Nobody actually witnessed it happening. I did talk to a friend of hers from Los Angeles that was on his way home, out of the desert at the time, and he said that he had noticed a lot of dust devils picking up in the desert … and they figure she crossed paths with one of those and the turbulence collapsed her chute,” he said.

With U.S. medical bills at more than $500,000, Markey has been focused on getting his daughter home. After being on disability for the past two years, he says that’s not a sum he can afford to pay.

He says the family thought Markey was insured and a claim was opened following her accident, but it was dismissed as invalid since she suffered her injuries while performing extreme sports.

Markey says Kenzie's trip home was arranged after an air ambulance company offered to fly his daughter in at cost — about $20,000.

He says she is extremely fragile.

"Her condition remains the same. She's sort of in and out of, not just consciousness, but clarity. But she is extremely happy to be going back to Canada, he said.

The B.C. Ministry of Health says the medical services plan will pay for the unexpected medical costs of B.C. residents anywhere in the world. However, it says excess costs, such as high doctor fees and flights, are the beneficiary's responsibility.

A social media campaign started by Markey's friends has already raised more than $15,000.

Markey will be flown to Vancouver airport and transported to Lionsgate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C.

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