102-Year-Old Woman Completes Successful Skydive

Mauricio GraikiShutterstock

This Sunday, a truly impressive 102-year-old woman pulled off something that is nothing short of incredible. As reported by Mashable, Irene O’Shea performed a tandem dive with an instructor and became possibly the oldest person to ever skydive.

The dive took place from an impressive 14,000 feet. O’Shea and her instructor climbed to the door of SA Skydiving’s plane and jumped. The tandem was equipped with a special device that allowed the instructor to lift Irene’s legs before landing, reducing the risk of injury.

This isn’t O’Shea’s first time skydiving, as she actually jumped on her 100th birthday with SA Skydiving, the same company who handled her recent jump.

On the jump, SA skydiving said in a report, “Irene and Jed [her instructor] completed a smooth, beautiful freefall, falling at 220kph through wispy clouds, before a smooth parachute opening.”

Once the parachute was opened, the pair and their cameramen “cruised around the beautiful skies above Langhorne Creek, enjoying the views of Lake Alexandrina, the Coorong, and the Murray Mouth.”

When asked if she was an adrenaline junkie, O’Shea said, “as far as I’m concerned I’m the same as everyone else, just a normal person.”

The oldest-known skydiver before O’Shea was Kenneth Meyer. He was also 102-years-old on the day of his jump. However, he was 102 and 172 days, while O’Shea is 102 and 194 days, making her 22 days older.

Interestingly, neither Irene O’Shea nor Kenneth Meyer is recognized in the Guinness World Records for oldest tandem dive, in spite of news reports of both jumps backing up their claims. In the case of O’Shea, there’s even a video of the jump.

Instead, the female record for the oldest tandem skydive is officially listed as belonging to Estrid Geertsen, who was 100-years-and-60-days-old. For the male side of things, the record holder is listed as Bryson William Verdun Hayes, who was 101-years-and-38-days-old at the time of his jump.

For an event to go into the Guinness World Records, there are certain verifications and an application process that the person attempting to break the record needs to go through, and presumably, neither of these skydivers chose to go through the process.

Irene O’Shea was jumping to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association of South Australia (MNDSA). Her daughter passed away from motor neuron disease 10 years ago, which led to O’Shea trying to raise as much money and awareness as possible in the fight against the diseases. Her goal is to raise $10,000. Interested donors can participate here.