101-year-old Irene’s leap of faith
SHE held on tightly to her trusty walking stick as she walked toward the plane, but threw it away before boarding.
She wouldn’t be needing it while freefalling at 220km/h through the clear blue sky.
Not the swirling coastal wind, not the hip replacement a year ago, not ever her centenarian age could prevent Adelaide’s 101-year-old Irene O’Shea, from becoming the world’s oldest female skydiver.
And she wasn’t even nervous. Instead, she smiled and waved at her 50-strong support crew of family and friends — including most of her five grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren — as she boarded a Cessna 206 on route to 14,000ft and one giant leap into the record books.
Born on May 30, 1916, Mrs O’Shea said after landing: “It was just terrific, but I’m glad my feet are planted firmly back on the ground.”
While Irene herself wasn’t nervous pre-jump, there was a nervous wait to see whether she’d be able to go skyward.
Not only had her skydive been postponed five times since July due to bad weather, but yesterday’s strong winds near the takeoff area at Langhorne Creek brought an unexpected four-hour wait for the wind to die down, which it did about 4pm.
“I haven’t done any preparation, because I’ve never been frightened of heights, but you won’t get me near water,” she said with a laugh.
It was not the first time Mrs O’Shea has taken the leap of faith — her first skydive was last year for her 100th birthday.
Irene takes a jump.