80-year-old Bulgarian woman bungee jumps off 190m-tall Austria bridge, one of Europe's highest

SOFIA (AFP) - A Bulgarian octogenarian has made a lifelong dream come true by bungee jumping from one of Europe's highest bridges, the woman told AFP on Monday.

Ms Penka Baleva leapt from the 190m-high Europe Bridge, near the Austrian city of Innsbruck, on Saturday.

"It was quite scary but I kept my head together and did it," Ms Baleva, who turned 80 in June, told AFP over the phone.

"It was beautiful, with these spectacular natural views all around. And I always take pleasure in jumping!"

The retired midwife from the Black Sea city of Varna discovered parachute jumping 13 years ago, and has accomplished 14 tandem skydives and 39 bungee jumps so far.

After giving up her hopes to make it to South Africa and jump from the 216m-high Bloukrans Bridge, Ms Baleva set her sights on Innsbruck.

Ms Baleva explained she had picked August 15 as the day for her jump because it marks the Assumption of the Virgin Mary - the feast day celebrating Mary's rise to heaven - which she believed would bring her good luck.

"I told myself: 'I must go there and do it, whether I will live or die'," she said.

"I never dream too much about things that I cannot accomplish. But I always keep dreaming."