Quantcast
Advertisement

Marine dies while skydiving during trip won on 'Ellen DeGeneres Show'

A 33-year-old Camp Lejeune Marine died Saturday afternoon while skydiving with his wife in Australia — a trip she won in a competition on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in January.

He crashed into the ground after a flawless descent that ended with unexplained complications that remain under investigation.

Brandon McGraw died in Euroa, Australia — which is in Melbourne, Victoria — while skydiving with his wife, Cherilyn McGraw, a special education teacher at Topsail Elementary School.

McGraw recently had returned from Afghanistan, and while his rank was not known at press time, photos on his Facebook page depict a man fond of extreme sports who was skilled at climbing and skydiving.

The couple was jumping with members of Skydive Euroa, an Australian skydiving school.

Ian Matthews, who works at Skydive Euroa, told The Daily News of Jacksonville, N.C., that Brandon McGraw was an experienced skydiver with more than “a few jumps under his belt.”

“McGraw watched his wife do a tandem jump before exiting the plane,” Matthews said. “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,” Matthews added.

According to media reports, the emergency call was made about 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

When paramedics arrived, McGraw was in cardiac arrest, according to reports by emergency responders. Paramedics were unable to resuscitate him, and he died at the scene.

Matthews said McGraw had successfully completed steps the school requires of those making solo descents — including training and providing proper documentation — before taking his last jump.

McGraw’s death marks the school’s first fatality since it opened in 1983, according to the Skydive Euroa website.

The school asserts it has “the best safety record in Victoria without question!” according to the website.

Repeated calls by The Daily News to Euroa Police Department all reached busy signals Sunday afternoon. The department is investigating McGraw’s death.

“The police department is doing an excellent job looking after his family and doing the processes to check equipment and procedures,” Matthews said. “Then it will go to the coroner’s court, where it will be discussed.”

Although a cause of death has not been released, Australian news media have reported high winds in the area may have factored in the tragedy.

Cherilyn McGraw won the trip to Australia on The Ellen DeGeneres Show during the “Stuff Your Down Under Pants” contest while on the show Jan. 16.

The episode is posted online in a YouTube video.

During the contest, Cherilyn and another woman quickly stuff oversize “pants” that more closely resemble trash sacks with large balls. Cherilyn ultimately had the most.

After winning, she is shown jumping repeatedly and clapping her hands in celebration as her opponent bows in defeat.

Brandon McGraw was from Brookville, Ohio, according to his Facebook page. His wife graduated from Bowling Green State University.

He was a fan of Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.

Join the conversation and share your voice.

Show Comments

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement