Woman, 104, aiming to become world’s oldest skydiver jumps 13,000ft

A 104-year-old daredevil swapped her walking frame for a parachute in a bid to be certified as the oldest person to ever skydive.

Dorothy Hoffner, from Chicago, made a tandem jump from 13,500 ft (4,114m) in northern Illinois on Sunday.

“Age is just a number,” Mrs Dorothy Hoffner told a cheering crowd as she landed at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa.

She completed her first skydive when she was 100 and took to the skies once more after being helped on board a small plane with others waiting inside to skydive.

“Let’s go, let’s go, Geronimo!” Mrs Hoffner said after she was finally seated.

She was looking to beat the Guinness World Records title for oldest skydiver set by 103-year-old Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson from Sweden in May last year.

When Mrs Hoffner first skydived, she admitted having to be pushed out of the aircraft.

But this time - tethered to a certified instructor - she insisted on leading the jump.

Dorothy Hoffner landing at Skydive Chicago (AP)
Dorothy Hoffner landing at Skydive Chicago (AP)

Mrs Hoffner looked calm and confident when the plane door opened to reveal tan crop fields far below.

The centenarian shuffled toward the edge and leapt into the air, tumbling out of the plane head first and completing a perfect forward roll in the sky.

Mrs Hoffner flew stable in freefall with her stomach facing the ground.

Her dive lasted seven minutes, including the parachute’s slow descent to the ground.

Coming in to land, the wind pushed Mrs Hoffner’s white hair back, she clung to the harness over her narrow shoulders, picked up her legs and plopped softly onto the grassy landing area.

Friends rushed in to share congratulations, while someone brought over Mrs Hoffner’s red walking frame. She rose quickly and she was asked how it felt to be back on the ground.

“Wonderful,” Mrs Hoffner said.

“But it was wonderful up there. The whole thing was delightful, wonderful, couldn’t have been better.”

Dorothy Hoffner comes in for a landing (AP)
Dorothy Hoffner comes in for a landing (AP)

After her jump, Mrs Hoffner’s mind quickly turned to the future and other challenges.

The thrill seeker is set to turn 105 in December said she might take a ride in a hot-air balloon next, adding: “I’ve never been in one of those.”

Skydive Chicago is working to have Mrs Hoffner’s jump certified as a record, local station WSL-TV reported.

Guinness World Records Limited told the Standard: “We look forward to receiving evidence from the attempt for our Records Management Team to review.”