Bush, 72, jumps to keep pledge

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The Independent Online

Yuma, Arizona - The former US President George Bush parachuted out of an aircraft over the Arizona desert yesterday, fulfilling a promise to himself after bailing out of his crippled Second World War Navy bomber.

Mr Bush jumped with eight others, including members of the US Parachute Association and the Army's Golden Knights parachute team. Linked by a harness to a pair of expert jumpmasters, the 72-year-old former president stepped of the civilian aircraft and sailed into a cloudless sky about 12,500ft (3,800m) over the Army's Yuma proving ground.

Asked how he felt after his first parachute jump since bailing out from his blazing bomber over the Pacific Ocean in September 1944, he gave the thumbs-up signal. "Like that," said Mr Bush, who was decked out in a red, white and blue jumpsuit.

Mr Bush, who had received eight hours' training with parachute experts before the jump, was met on the ground by his wife, Barbara - who had given her blessing to the venture.