TV crew killed when falling tree hits vehicle on highway
May 29, 2018, 09:31
Neither Tennant nor Master Trooper Murico Stephens of the North Carolina Highway Patrol directly blamed the up to 2 inches of rain that fell Monday from the fringes of Alberto for the deaths. They told Tennant to be careful with Alberto's remnant storm, expected to bring more heavy rains and mudslides this week.
"Mike and Aaron were beloved members of our team, our family", WYFF co-anchor Carol Goldsmith said while breaking the news on the station's 6 p.m. newscast.
"All of us at WYFF News 4 are grieving". "We thank you for your comfort as we mourn".
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.
The victims were employees of NBC affiliate WYFF in Greenville, South Carolina, the station confirmed on its website.
McCormick had been with the station since 2007 and Smeltzer shot news for more than a decade in the region.
"The ground is saturated", Geoff Tennant, the fire chief in Tyron, North Carolina, told reporters Monday evening.
Polk County officials said NC State Highway Patrol is handling the investigation and said Highway 176 is shut down between Thompson Road in Saluda and Harmon Field Road in Tryon.
Photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer is from Tazewell, Virginia, and attended Radford University.
Chief Tennant, though, called Monday's episode a "freak of nature" occurrence. When he was not reporting or anchoring the news, you would find him in the kitchen. McCormick, a native of Florida, had been working at WYFF for eleven years.
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