From Tinubu to Biden: 9 Presidents, World Leaders Who Fell During Public Ceremony

From Tinubu to Biden: 9 Presidents, World Leaders Who Fell During Public Ceremony

  • An Wednesday, got the attention of many and stirred a fresh debate in the polity
  • Like Tinubu, US President Biden’s onstage tumble at the U.S. Air Force Academy also made headlines around the world, but they are far from the only world leaders or politicians who have taken a highly visible fall
  • This report by presents a list of some renowned world leaders and presidents who had missed their steps at an event journalist Esther Odili has over two years of experience covering political parties and movements.

On Wednesday, June 12, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu missed his steps while trying to climb the parade vehicle at the Eagles Square in Abuja.

Tinubu, Biden, other leaders who fell in the past

Tinubu and other leaders who have missed their steps in the past
Like Tinubu, Biden and Hillary Clinton have fell in the past. Photo credit: Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden
Source: Facebook reported that Tinubu fell inside the parade vehicle at the event, which was attended by top dignitaries marking Nigeria's 25th Democracy Day anniversary since 1999.

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"Unfortunate": Peter Obi reacts to Tinubu's fall at Eagle Square, counsels mockers

In a swift reaction to the development, the presidency assured that there was no cause for alarm as the president stood up and continued with the programme.

However, the development has led to a series of reactions in the polity as Nigerians queried; hope all is well.

In view of the above development, this report highlights other world leaders aside from Tinubu, who had had clumsy moments, missed their steps and were caught on camera while boarding vehicles or disembarking official aircraft.

1. June 1975 – US President Gerald Ford stumbled

President Gerald Ford's fall
President Gerald Ford was helped to his feet after he slipped and fell deplaning Air Force One in Austria in 1975. Photo credit: Wally McNamee/Corbis via Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The then United States President Gerald Ford slid Air Force One in 1975 while visiting Vienna in Austria for talks with Egyptian President Anwar Sada.

But Ford’s caught-on-camera stumbled down the rain-slicked steps of Air Force One in Austria

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2. October 2004- Cuba leader, Fidel Castro falls from stage

Cuban leader Fidel Castro, in 2004, fell off of the stage in Santa Clara, Cuba. Castro broke his knee and arm in the fall, sources say. The fall brought back memories of when he collapsed two years before the 2004 fall.

Interestingly, Castro said he is fine after the fall, NBC News reported.

3. Zimbabwe President Mugabe slid the staircase

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's epic fall
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, center, falls after addressing supporters upon his return from an African Union meeting in Ethiopia on Feb. 4, 2015. Photo credit: (AP)
Source: Getty Images

In February 2015, Zimbabwe’s 90-year-old President, Robert Mugabe, fell down a staircase as he walked off a podium after addressing supporters at Harare International Airport, an AFP correspondent said.

As reported by the Punch, he had just returned from Ethiopia, where he took over the rotating chairmanship of the African Union.

4. Barack Obama missed his steps off the Air Force One

Former US President Barack Obama on March 2015, came close to falling down the steps of Air Force One.

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Obama was returning to Washington DC from a golfing trip in Florida when he bounded from the door of the plane only to lose his footing. The good new was that he recovered and continued across the tarmac with the same spring in his step.

5. V.P. Mike Pence falls up the steps of Air Force Two

Vice President Mike Pence had a moment remarkably similar to President Biden’s upward slip in June 2020.

Pence was filmed running, then tripping, up the staircase of Air Force Two.

6. Russian President Putin falls on the ice at hockey game

The world saw Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in 2019 floored during another pursuit: playing ice hockey at Sochi’s Bolshoy Ice Dome.

After winning the game, Putin glides around the rink in a victory lap clapping and waving at fans. The Russian leader then slammed into the floor before being helped up and skating off.

Read also

Presidency reacts, gives update as Tinubu misses steps, falls at Eagle square

7. President Joe Biden trips three times on Air Force One stairs

President Joe Biden trips three times on Air Force One stairs while scaling the steps to Air Force One to Atlanta to meet with Asian-American community leaders on a massacre.

8. Senator Tommy Tuberville

Senator Tommy Tuberville, who has previously criticised President Joe Biden for falling in public view, was mocked online after a video showing him falling down a flight of plane stairs himself went viral in October 2023.

Alabama Republican, who at the time was coaching the University of Cincinnati football team, appeared to lose his footing after three steps and slid the rest of the way down.

9. Former US Senator Hillary Clinton

As reported by The Washington Post, a media frenzy ensued when Hillary Clinton, as Democratic presidential nominee, buckled and stumbled in 2016 after becoming sick during a 9/11 memorial service in New York.

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Tinubu misses steps, falls at Eagle Square, video trends

The then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was boarding a plane to Yemen when she slipped to her knees at the doorway and was only saved from further embarrassment when an aide gave her a helping hand.

Presidency reacts as Tinubu misses steps, falls earlier reported that President Tinubu's special adviser on social media, Dada Olusegun, dispelled the concerns about the brief slip of the President on Wednesday morning.

Olusegun's reaction followed a video clip of President Bola Tinubu falling while climbing the parade vehicle at the Eagles Square in Abuja.

The incident happened during the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Nigeria's uninterrupted democracy in Abuja.


Esther Odili avatar

Esther Odili (Politics and Current Affairs Editor) Esther Odili is a journalist and a Politics/Current Affairs Editor at with 6+ years of experience. Before joining, Esther has worked with other reputable media houses, such as the New Telegraph newspaper and Galaxy Television. She Holds OND and HND in Mass Communication from NIJ, where she was recognized as the best student in print journalism in 2018. Email: