Fulfilling decades-old vow, 90-year-old Quebec man skydives

More than 70 years ago, Laval Boulanger promised himself that if he lived to see 90, he would skydive. On Monday, he realized his goal.

After a workplace accident, Laval Boulanger promised himself he'd jump from a plane if he lived to 90

Laval Boulanger, 90, made a tandem jump on Monday. He would recommend skydiving to others, 'but not alone,' he said. (Parachutisme Adrénaline Trois-Rivières)

In 1943, Laval Boulanger was an 18-year-old working at a shipbuilding company in Sorel-Tracy, Que., when he fell from a height of 15 metres.

He nearly died, but when he recovered, he made a promise with himself: If he lived to 90 years old, he would skydive.

"At that time, only soldiers had access to parachutes," he said in an interview with Radio-Canada.

Skydiving at 90

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5 years ago
After a workplace accident in 1943, Laval Boulanger promised himself that if he lived to be 90, he'd jump from a plane. 0:52

That workplace fall was only the first of three narrow escapes for Boulanger. When he was 45, he was in a bad car accident, and at 72 he underwent surgery to treat prostate cancer.

Boulanger and his tandem instructor take the plunge. ( Parachutisme Adrénaline Trois-Rivières)

But he never forgot about the vow he made as a young man. Now 90, he fulfilled the promise on Monday, when his five children watched as he suited up and jumped out of a plane in Trois-Rivières, Que., with the assistance of a tandem instructor. 

Boulanger had the entire experience caught on camera. (Parachutisme Adrénaline Trois-Rivières)

Boulanger was asked what he would be thinking about while he hurtled toward the ground.

Boulanger is now the oldest person to have jumped with Parachutisme Adrénaline, a company based in Trois-Rivières. The previous record holder was 87. (Parachutisme Adrénaline Trois-Rivières)

"Absolutely nothing," he said.

Boulanger and his tandem instructor prepare to land. (Luc Lavigne/Radio-Canada)

Once back on the ground, Boulanger seemed happy and relieved. After more than 70 years, he had fulfilled his promise.

"I'm free. My mind is free."

Boulanger comes back down to Earth. (Luc Lavigne/Radio-Canada)

With files from Radio-Canada's Marie-Ève Trudel and Luc Lavigne