Texas governor skydives with 106-year-old World War II veteran for first time


The three-term Republican governor skydived for the first time Monday, jumping from nearly 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) above the suburbs between Austin and San Antonio. He was joined on the plane by 106-year-old World War II veteran Al Blaschke, who jumped separately.

Blaschke is a previous Guinness World Records title holder for oldest tandem skydive. Last month, a 104-year-old woman from Chicago went skydiving in an attempt to become a new record holder. She died a week after he jumped,

Abbott said that the idea of ​​skydiving had come to his mind before.

"The most shocking sensation is when you immediately get out of the plane, and you're in freefall," Abbott told reporters after landing.

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Abbott, 66, uses a wheelchair and is paralyzed from the waist down after a tree fell on him as a young law school student. He joked to reporters after the jump that his greatest fear had been realized: "I'll land, and I won't be able to get away," he said, smiling.

Abbott said he had wanted to go skydiving several weeks earlier when the weather was warmer but rains scuppered those plans. It was a cold Texas morning when Abbott and Blaschke made the jump.

"He's an old professional," Abbott said.

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