A North Carolina state trooper says a tree fell across a highway, crushing a vehicle from a South Carolina television station and killing a TV anchor and photojournalist.
Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant’s voice broke Monday as he talked about recognizing the WYFF-TV vehicle under the large tree and the two men dead inside on U.S. Highway 176 near Tryon.
Tennant said at a news conference that WYFF-TV anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer told him to be safe as Subtropical Storm Alberto was expected to bring more flooding and mudslides to Polk County. Tennant says he told the TV crew to be safe, too.
WYFF News 4 anchor Mike McCormick and WYFF News 4 photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer died Monday when a tree fell on their SUV. https://t.co/VZZKA6K6qq All of us at WYFF News 4 are grieving. We are a family. pic.twitter.com/IQmZ6prUIH
— WYFF News 4 (@wyffnews4) May 28, 2018
Anchor Carol Goldsmith said on air that McCormick and Smeltzer were "beloved members of our team – our family."
The tree fell in Polk County not far from where a landslide killed a woman in her home on May 19 after heavy rains.
Tennant thinks the roots of the 3-foot (91-centimeter) diameter tree were loosened in ground saturated by a week’s worth of rain.
The fringes of Alberto brought up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain to the area Monday.
WYFF-TV is based in Greenville, South Carolina.
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