HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — When Cherilyn McGraw won a skydiving trip on the Ellen DeGeneres Show it was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime for she and her husband, but unfortunately that dream trip turned into a nightmare when her husband tragically passed away.
Since returning home from his third tour of duty with the Marine Corps neighbors say it was hard to miss Gunnery Sergeant Brandon McGraw jogging around the neighborhood, or working on his new Harley.
“He was very friendly, open, and a happy person,” said neighbor William Sidberry. “He loved the Marine Corps and what he was doing for the country.”
Saturday afternoon 33-year-old Brandon McGraw passed away in Australia while skydiving with Euroa Skydive, which claims on its website that it had never had an accident in 30 years of operation.
Friends say that McGraw was an experienced sky diver with many dives under his belt.
According to Australian media reports, Gunnery Sergeant McGraw was jumping solo and his parachute opened without any problems.
As McGraw got closer to the ground something, possibly a gust of wind, caused him to veer off course and crash. By the time paramedics reached him McGraw was in cardiac arrest.
“It’s tragic,” said Sidberry. “Death is tragic either way but I don’t really have the words to express it. My feeling is if you make it home I felt like it was safe after I made it home and I’m sure both of them felt the same way. We’ll miss him.”