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U.S. Marine dies in Australian skydiving accident

Dec. 19, 2013 at 1:47 AM   |   Comments

MELBOURNE, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- A U.S. Marine whose wife won a trip to Australia on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" died in a skydiving accident in Euroa, officials say.

Gunnery Sgt. Brandon McGraw, 33, who had returned from his third tour in Afghanistan, and his wife, Cherilynn, both jumped Saturday on a trip with Euroa Skydive, the Daily News of Jacksonville, N.C., reported. Cherilynn went first, jumping in tandem with no problems.

McGraw, a veteran skydiver stationed at Camp Lejeune, was alone. Witnesses said his parachute apparently opened properly but they saw him swerve to the right and left.

When paramedics arrived, McGraw had died.

Cherilynn McGraw, who won the trip Jan. 16 during a "Stuff Your Down Under Pants" segment, posted pictures on Facebook that showed her and her husband on the plane just before his dive. She said her husband was "happy and doing what he loved."

She posted a later message: "I just want to say that this stupid Facebook has been my saving grace this week. I'm beyond honored and words will never be able to express my gratitude for all the love, support and prayers."

McGraw said she was working on bringing her husband's body back to the United States.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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