WYFF-TV's News anchor, Mike McCormick, and photojournalist, Aaron Smeltzer, were killed Monday, May 28 by the subtropical storm, Alberto. They were reporting the severity of the storm and the flooding that was taking place near U.S. Highway 176 near a town called Tryon when a large tree fell on top of their vehicle, CNN reported.

Tropical Storm Alberto killed two

Approximately ten minutes prior to this accident, North Carolina Highway Patrol Officer Trooper Murrico Stephens, and the Tyron Fire Chief, Geoffrey Tennant, claimed they were previously warned about what was to come as the after-effects of the storm included things like mudslides and more heavy rains.

They had been interviewed by McCormick and Smeltzer according to WRAL News.

“Ten minutes later, we get the call and it was them,” claimed Geoffrey Tennant. This accident that caused their deaths has been blamed on the rain, in that the roots that held a tree that was three-feet in diameter, loosened up because they were soaked from so much rain throughout the week.

As the tree was falling, McCormick and Smeltzer were driving by. It killed both of them instantly. Many people are calling this a “freak of nature” because the engine of the SUV McCormick and Smeltzer were driving was still running and it was still in drive. Although the job that was being performed already had it’s risks and chances, there was no warning for McCormick or Smeltzer to get out of the way.

The pair had worked for WYFF-TV for years

Mike McCormick started working for WYFF-TV in 2007 and was a weekend anchor for the Greenville station. Aaron Smeltzer came to WYFF-TV over ten years ago and love to boast about his Emmy winnings. While these two guys became friends working together, they did have some competition. Derek Dellinger who worked for WHNS-TV as a reporter claimed he competed against McCormick and Smeltzer because Smeltzer was a perfectionist while McCormick was a hard worker who had a warm heart.

There was advice given to those who live in vulnerable areas that are affected by storms in Polk County. People were asked to voluntarily evacuate for their safety. This is due to the fact that the specific area in North Carolina has been getting hit hard by recent storms. The American Red Cross had a shelter opened and ready, waiting for evacuees.

A woman was killed a few days prior after being caught up in a mudslide which was not far from where McCormick and Smeltzer were. Whether or not the advice was taken, so far, there have not been any other deaths reported during this storm.