TV News Anchor, Photographer Die When Tree Crushes Their Vehicle

S. Carolina journalists die while covering hazardous weather

TV News Anchor, Photographer Die When Tree Crushes Their Vehicle

According to the station's website, news anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer were killed after a tree fell on their SUV on Monday.

WYFF televison station in Greenville, S.C., is mourning the loss of its news crew. But heavy rain, partly from the fringes of the storm, has caused flooding concerns across the region.

"I have never seen an event like this one", Tennant, who has been in fire service in Polk County for 44 years, said.

Reporter Mike McCormick and photographer Aaron Smeltzer were in Polk County covering severe weather.

"I think it was a matter of the tree root system had failed and the tree came down" Tennant told local reporters.

Anchor Carol Goldsmith said on air that McCormick and Smeltzer were "beloved members of our team - our family".

US 176 was closed in the area around the accident, and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol was handling the investigation, according to the Polk County Emergency Management Office.

"Ten minutes later we get the call and it was them", Tennant said at a news conference, his voice cracking. "We are a family and we thank you, our extended family, for your comfort as we mourn and as we seek to comfort the families of Mike and Aaron".

He also noted that the journalists' vehicle was found running and in drive while resting under a tree with a diameter of roughly three feet. "It was a freak of nature", he said. He joined the station in 2007 and anchored the weekend broadcast, according to the station. McCormick, a native of Florida, had been working at WYFF for eleven years.

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