Tom Cruise makes 5-mile skydive in 'Mission: Impossible' stunt

LONDON (Reuters) - Tom Cruise has jumped off buildings, slid off skyscrapers and clung onto the outside of a plane during take-off in his roles as action movie hero.

Now he can stake a claim to being the first actor to perform a “HALO” skydive on camera: a “high altitude, low opening” jump, usually done only by highly-trained military professionals as a way of avoiding detection by the enemy.

The 55-year-old filmed the stunt for “Mission: Impossible - Fallout”, the latest installment of the high-grossing action movies in which he plays agent Ethan Hunt.

In a video released ahead of the movie’s release next month, Cruise leaps from the cargo door of a plane at 25,000 feet (7,600 meters) - almost five miles - opening the parachute less than 2,000 feet (600 meters) from the ground, according the filmmakers.

To prepare for the stunt, which carries a risk of decompression sickness, or “the bends”, during the 200 mph (320 kmh) fall, Cruise trained in a custom-built wind machine and used a special helmet.

Cruise broke an ankle last year filming another stunt for “Mission: Impossible - Fallout”, when he jumped between two buildings and landed against a wall.

Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Robin Pomeroy