Chief finds TV crew dead minutes after interview
TRYON, N.C. (AP) - A fire chief in North Carolina says he spoke to a TV anchor and his photojournalist out of South Carolina 10 minutes before they were struck and killed by a falling tree.
Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant's voice broke Monday as he talked about recognizing the WYFF-TV vehicle under the large tree and the two men dead inside on U.S. Highway 176 near Tryon.
Tennant said at a news conference that WYFF-TV anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer told him to be safe as Subtropical Storm Alberto was expected to bring more flooding and mudslides to Polk County. Tennant says he told the TV crew to be safe, too.
Tennant thinks the roots of the 3-foot (91-centimeter) diameter tree were loosened in ground saturated by a week's worth of rain.
The fringes of Alberto brought up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain to the area Monday.