UK & World News

  • 19 December 2013, 11:38

Ellen Show Winner Dies On Oz Skydiving Trip

A US Marine has died on a skydiving accident in Australia after he and his wife had won the trip thanks to The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Gunnery Sergeant Brandon McGraw, 33, was a veteran who served three tours in Afghanistan.

Sergeant McGraw and his wife Cherilyn went skydiving in the same plane with members of Euroa Skydive, an Australian skydiving school based in Euroa, about 100km (60 miles) north of Melbourne.

Ms McGraw chose a tandem jump and went first, with no problems.

Sergeant McGraw, who was an experienced skydiver according to news reports, went solo.

Ian Matthews, who works at Euroa Skydive, told the Jacksonville, North Carolina-based Daily News: "McGraw watched his wife do a tandem jump before exiting the plane.

"He floated for three or four minutes with a good canopy.

"A short time before landing, he suddenly began turning his parachute dramatically to the left and right and eventually crashed into the ground."

Sergeant McGraw died at the scene last Saturday.

Ms Cherilyn posted photos on Facebook that showed moments before the jump.

In a posting she thanked everybody who expressed their sympathy, saying the social network had been her "saving grace this week".

"I'm beyond honoured and words will never be able to express my gratitude for all the love, support and prayers," she wrote.

Ms McGraw said she was working on bringing her husband's body back to the US and that she "cannot wait to be home".

There was no immediate comment from TV talk-show hosted by DeGeneres. Ms McGraw had reportedly won the trip for herself and her husband in January.

The Euroa Skydive website said the school has been open since 1983. News reports said this was the first fatality in its history.

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