US ambassador in D-Day jump

Former Muppets boss Charles Rivkin joins 150 parachutists in freefall tribute over Normandy

3 June 2012

AMERICAN ambassador to France Charles Rivkin has jumped from 12,000ft over Normandy in a mass parachute jump to commemorate the D-Day landings.

He said on Twitter he was "Proud to be the first US Ambassador to France to jump out of an airplane in honor of our troops".

Rivkin added: "Thinking of those who gave their lives on this day 68 years ago."

It was his first free-fall and he was part of just 150 US, French and German parachutists who took part in the jump because of problems with high winds, which caused several injuries. It had been planned for 450 to take part.

Gusting winds made conditions tricky for the parachutists and two ended up in trees and several received light injuries on landing in the difficult conditions.

The jump was watched by 25,000 people on the ground. It marked the 68th anniversary of June 6, 1944, when 14,000 paratroops descended at night in the area around Sainte-Mère-Église (Manche) as part of the offensive to push the Germans out of Occupied France.

Rivkin jumped with members of the elite US Golden Knights parachute team and in tandem with the team's Noah Waats.

The former president of The Jim Henson Company, makers of The Muppets, the 60-year-old is the youngest ambassador in nearly 60 years to represent the US in France.

Photo: Ambassador Rivkin's page on Twitter

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