National brief: Falling tree kills 2 journalists in NC

ASSOCIATED PRESS

TRYON, N.C.  — Two broadcast journalists were killed by a falling tree in North Carolina as they reported on the severe weather associated with subtropical storm Alberto.

The television news anchor and a photojournalist colleague were killed Monday while covering the very fringes of the large system whose core made landfall hundreds of miles away on the northern Gulf Coast. Authorities said a tree became uprooted from rain-soaked soil and toppled on the news team’s SUV, killing the two instantly.

The dead were identified as working for a station based in Greenville, South Carolina.

WYFF-TV Anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer both had worked in the Greenville market for more than a decade. “Mike and Aaron were beloved members of our team — our family,” anchor Carol Goldsmith said.

A woman died in a mudslide on May 19 not far from the area and officials in one especially hard-hit county were asking people living in vulnerable areas to voluntary leave before the weather got worse.

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