Two journalists killed on the job by falling tree in North Carolina

WYFF News anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer of the NBC affiliate in Greenville, South Carolina, died after the tree hit their sport utility vehicle on a highway. (Courtesy WYFF)
Updated 29 May 2018
0

Two journalists killed on the job by falling tree in North Carolina

NEW YORK : A television news anchor and a camera operator were killed on Monday when a tree in North Carolina fell on their vehicle as they were covering the effects of a rainstorm in Polk County, officials said.
WYFF News anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer of the NBC affiliate in Greenville, South Carolina, died after the tree hit their sport utility vehicle on a highway, the station reported.
Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant said he had just given an interview to McCormick when, minutes later, he received a call about the incident. He arrived to discover the victims were the two men he had just met.
“It personally affected me a little bit because 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 how we wanted him to stay safe,” Tennant told reporters.
The ground was saturated from the rain, and a large tree about 3 feet (1 m) in diameter fell on the journalists’ SUV, apparently as it was driving along Highway 176, Tennant said. When first responders arrived, the engine was running and the transmission was in drive, Tennant said.
“It is a freak of nature,” Tennant said. “I think it was a matter of the tree root system had failed and the tree came down.”
McCormick had been with the station since 2007, first as a reporter and later as anchor of two Sunday broadcasts, WYFF said. Smeltzer joined the station in February of this year. Both were born in 1982.
Polk County is about 90 miles (145 km) west of Charlotte.


Two journalists released in Libya: TV channel

Updated 25 May 2019
0

Two journalists released in Libya: TV channel

  • The capital’s southern suburbs have been the target of an offensive launched April 4 by Khalifa Haftar
  • The release of the television journalists followed local and international condemnation of their detention

TRIPOLI: Two Libyan journalists held by an armed group for more than three weeks have been released, the television channel they work for said Saturday.
“We congratulate the press world for the release of our two colleagues, Mohamad Al-Gurj and Mohamad Al-Chibani, who were kidnapped by Haftar’s forces on May 2 while they were covering the assault on Tripoli,” said the private channel Libya Al-Ahrar, which is based in Turkey.
It said they were freed on Friday.
The capital’s southern suburbs have been the target of an offensive launched April 4 by Khalifa Haftar, military strongman of an eastern administration aimed at seizing Tripoli from an internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
At least 510 people have been killed and around 2,500 wounded in the fighting, as well as more than 80,000 displaced, according to UN agencies.
The release of the television journalists followed local and international condemnation of their detention, including from media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
In a press freedom index compiled by RSF, Libya ranks a lowly 162nd out of 180 countries.