George HW Bush celebrates 90th birthday with parachute jump

The eldest Bush celebrated his 75th, 80th and 85th by skydiving

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The Independent Online

Former American president George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday with a parachute jump near his family home in Maine on Thursday.

Accompanied by an army team led by retired Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, Mr Bush could be seen floating under a red, white and blue parachute.

He landed on the lawn of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, where several hundred friends and relatives were waiting for him, including his former president George W. Bush and his wife Barbara.

Earlier, the 41st president had tweeted: "It's a wonderful day in Maine -- in fact, nice enough for a parachute jump."

Mr Bush had promised make the 6,000 feet jump five years ago for his 90th birthday even though he can no longer use his legs because of Parkinsonism.

"It's vintage George Bush," spokesman Jim McGrath told reporters. "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."

The eldest Bush celebrated his 75th, 80th and 85th by skydiving. Thursday marked his eighth jump.

His first parachute jump came when his plane was shot down over the Pacific in 1944 during the Second World War. He bailed out at 1,500 feet after a bombing mission over ChiChi Jima. His two crewmates didn't make it.

Video courtesy of AP