George H.W. Bush Celebrates 90th Birthday by Skydiving
    2014-06-13 05:23:17     Xinhua       Web Editor: Zhang

Former U.S. President George H. W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday on Thursday by taking to the air for a tandem skydiving jump.

The country's 41st president tweeted breezily several hours before the event: "It's a wonderful day in Maine -- in fact, nice enough for a parachute jump."

Bush was doing "great, exhilarated" following his skydive and a "hot" landing, spokesman Jim McGrath said on his Twitter account.

Bush made the jump, with a parachute in mixed color of red, blue and white, even though he has mostly had to use a wheelchair to get around for the last year. He has vascular Parkinsonism, which causes symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease.

It was a tandem jump from a helicopter near his summer home in Kennebunkport, the State of Maine.

Bush made the jump harnessed to Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott, a retired member of the Army's parachute team, CNN reported.

Television images captured the former president, noted for daredevil stunts in his retirement, floating gently to the Earth in what appeared to be a long arc.

It was the eighth parachute jump for the former U.S. president. But his first jump 70 years ago, he had no choice.

In 1944, Bush was a 20-year-old torpedo bomber pilot serving in World War II. His squadron was on a mission when it was attacked. His plane's engine was on fire, but he released his bombs and headed back toward the aircraft carrier. On the way, he had to bail out over the ocean. Three other crew members died.

The former president has commemorated three other landmark birthdays with parachute jumps: plummeting to the Earth at 100 mph on his 75th, 80th and 85th.

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