WYFF via Twitter

Anchor, photojournalist killed covering severe weather in North Carolina

Two TV station workers who were covering severe weather died in Polk County in an incident on Highway 176 Monday.

According to Polk County Local Government’s Facebook page, the crash, involving an SUV and a tree, resulted in two fatalities.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said a vehicle, a WYFF-TV news SUV, was traveling south on U.S. Highway 176 around 2:30 p.m. when a tree fell on the vehicle.

The passenger and driver died in the incident.

WYFF later identified the victims as anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer, who were in the area to cover severe weather from the fringes of Subtropical Storm Alberto.

“All of us at WYFF News 4 are grieving. We are a family and we thank you, our extended family, for your comfort as we mourn and as we seek to comfort the families of Mike and Aaron,” the TV station wrote on their website.

Anchor Carol Goldsmith said on air that McCormick and Smeltzer were “beloved members of our team – our family.”

Officials at the scene told WSPA that there was a mudslide that occurred in the area. Officials said this crash was not related to the mudslide.

WYFF is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed in Greenville, South Carolina serving Upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina.

Polk County officials said the N.C. State Highway Patrol is handling the investigation and that U.S. Highway 176 is shut down between Thompson Road in Saluda and Harmon Field Road in Tryon.