Friday, 22 March, 2019

TV anchor, photojournalist killed when tree falls on vehicle

Credit WYFF4 Credit WYFF4
Patty Aguilar | 29 May, 2018, 09:12

The station, WYFF in Greenville, S.C., said reporter Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer were covering the effects of heavy rain in the area when a tree fell on their sport utility vehicle on US 176 near Tryon, N.C., just north of the SC border.

The station released a statement, saying, "All of us at WYFF News 4 are grieving".

The remnants of Subtropical Storm Alberto are expected to bring more heavy rains and mudslides this week.

"It personally affected me a little bit because I had done an interview with Mr. McCormick about 10 minutes before we got the call".

Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant said in a press conference that at about 2:30 P.M., the station received a call that there was a tree down on a vehicle with people trapped inside.

Anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer were heading to a story and "covering the rain impact in that area" when they were killed, WYFF confirmed.

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"Mike and Aaron were beloved members of our team, our family", Cogdill said.

The tree fell in Polk County, North Carolina, not far from where a landslide killed a woman in her home on May 19 after heavy rains.

McCormick, originally from Arkansas, joined the NBC affiliate station in 2007 as a reporter after years in the industry.

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.

Smeltzer started working at WYFF in February of this year, according to the station's website. "We will all miss them both very much", anchor Gordon Dill said. He became weekend anchor in 2014. "We thank you for your comfort as we mourn".

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