North Carolina Journalists Killed While Covering Heavy Flooding

May 29, 2018

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

This is something to think about as we watch dangerous situations unfold on television. Those covering the events often times put themselves in harms way to get that story.

Tragic news out of North Carolina as two journalists covering heavy rains, were killed after a tree fell on the car they were riding in.  The victims were employees of NBC affiliate WYFF in Greenville, South Carolina, the station confirmed on its website.

The accident occurred Monday afternoon on U.S. Highway 176 in Polk County, according to a post on the Facebook page for the Polk County local government. WYFF identified the victims as anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer, who were covering the impact of the heavy rain in the area.

The ground in the area is saturated from all the recent rainfall, Tryon Fire Chief Geoff Tennant said in a press conference Monday afternoon. It appears that the vehicle was in motion when the tree became uprooted and fell in excess of 30 feet, crashing on top of it, Tennant said.

Tennant had just done an interview with McCormick 10 minutes before the fire department got the call for a downed tree, he said. Officials are warning citizens to consider evacuating the area due to the unstable ground, Tennant said. The rain forecast from the approaching subtropical storm Alberto could cause the terrain to become even more unstable.

The highway has now been shut down between Thompson Road in Saluda and Harmon Field Road in Tyron. Officials have warned citizens to avoid the area “because travel has become dangerous.”

In addition, flash flood watches have been issued for the area, officials said.

We know that first responders and others have difficult and often times dangerous jobs – but the truth is, so do journalists covering those stories. We are sending prayers to the families, coworkers and loved ones of Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer.


About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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