updated 5/28/2006 7:54:46 PM ET 2006-05-28T23:54:46

A first-time skydiver slipped from her harness during a jump and fell to her death, authorities said.

Ellen Ann McWilliams, 44, of West Chester, Pa., was participating in a tandem jump Saturday with the AerOhio Skydiving school near Sterling, about 40 miles south of Cleveland, according to the Wayne County Sheriff’s office.

During tandem jumps, a novice skydiver is harnessed to the chest of an experienced jumper. When the parachute is deployed, the experienced skydiver guides the team to the ground.

A preliminary investigation by the sheriff’s office indicated McWilliams slipped from the harness after the parachute opened.

It is not known how far the woman fell, and the sheriff’s office did not release any further details.

A message seeking comment was left Sunday at AerOhio Skydiving.

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