90-year-old ex-US president makes parachute jump
KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush has celebrated his 90th birthday by making a tandem parachute jump near his summer home in Maine.
The 41st president jumped out of a helicopter Thursday while harnessed to a retired member of the Army’s parachute team. He can no longer use his legs because of a form of parkinsonism.
Bush could be seen floating to the ground using a red, white and blue parachute. A spokesman says he landed safely and softly, out of the sight of reporters.
Bush made good on a promise made five years ago, when he also celebrated his birthday by skydiving.
Thursday marked his eighth jump. The first time Bush jumped from an airplane was when his plane was shot down in World War II over the Pacific.
“It’s a wonderful day in Maine — in fact, nice enough for a parachute jump,” he announced on Twitter.
The announcement was kept secret until the last minute, partly to give Bush himself the option of changing his mind.
Spokesman Jim McGrath said Bush likes both a surprise and an adrenaline rush.
“It’s vintage George Bush,” he said. “It’s that passion for life. It’s wanting to set a goal, wanting to achieve it. I’m sure part of it is sending a message to others that even in your retirement years you can still find challenges.”
Other birthday festivities included a private dinner with more than 200 relatives and friends. His children, former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, will be there, McGrath said.
George H.W. Bush spokesman in Mandela ‘death’ gaffe
German magazine mistakenly publishes Bush obituary
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.