May 29 (UPI) — Two television journalists in South Carolina were killed when a tree fell on them while they were covering weather conditions in the Charleston area.
WYFF anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer were on a highway covering heavy rains in Polk County, S.C., when a tree that was 3 feet in diameter fell on their SUV, their news station reported.
Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant said he had an interview with the two journalists just minutes before he got a call about the accident.
“It personally affected me a little bit because I had done an interview with Mr. McCormick about 10 minutes before we got the call,” Tennant said. “And we had talked a little bit about how he wanted us to stay safe and I wanted him to stay safe and of course 10 or 15 minutes later we got the call and it was him and his photographer. It’s the first time I ever met either one of those two gentleman, but you feel a sense of responsibility to them.”
WYFF co-anchor Carol Goldsmith announced the death of her colleagues on a Monday night newscast.
“Mike and Aaron were beloved members of our team, our family,” she said. “All of us here at WYFF 4 are grieving. We are a family. And you, our extended family, we thank you for your comfort as we mourn and as we seek to comfort the families.”
Both of the men were in their mid-30s. McCormick had been working at WYFF for 11 years. Smeltzer recently came on board the news station after previously working at WSPA, another local news station in the Charleston area, for several years.