Covering storms is a dangerous business that is often made to look far easier than it is by journalists.
For two journalists, Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer, those dangers became a reality when both of them lost their lives while on a weather assignment for WYFF-TV in South Carolina.
Just Another Day…
Nobody expected the assignment given to anchor Mike McCormick to be a deadly one.
We have all seen journalists head into hurricane and tornado weather before, rarely hearing of tragedy.
McCormick, along with Aaron Smeltzer, who was filming, were sent out to interview a local fire chief about the storm.
The storm they were covering was the remnants of Subtropical Storm Alberto.
While the most dangerous part of the storm was believed to have passed, there were still high winds and heavy rains left behind.
They had barely left the interview when a tree fell and struck their vehicle.
Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant stated, “I had done an interview with Mr. McCormick about 10 minutes before we got the call.”
“And we had talked a little bit about how he wanted us to stay safe and I wanted him to stay safe,” the chief added.
When emergency responders arrived at the scene, they were devasted to see McCormick and Smeltzer inside the crushed vehicle.
McCormick was born in Florida and worked his way up through the ranks during his career.
He started out as a writer for a local network in Miami.
He would then serve as a spot-anchor for a local network in Arkansas.
Finally, McCormick hit the big time when he moved to South Carolina as the weekend anchor for WYFF.
Smeltzer was a Virginia native and reportedly started out at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg.
He had been working in the Greenville area for almost a decade before coming to work for WYFF earlier this year.
The station’s general manager gave accolades to both men and stated, “we will miss them tremendously.”