2 die in North Carolina covering fringe storm

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Courtesy: WYFF News

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) – Authorities so far haven’t attributed any deaths or injuries directly to Subtropical Storm Alberto. But in North Carolina, a television news anchor and a photojournalist have died when a tree fell on their vehicle as they reported on severe weather on the fringes of the huge system.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says a large tree toppled Monday on the TV news vehicle near Tryon, North Carolina. Station WYFF-TV of Greenville, South Carolina, says one of its news anchors, Mike McCormick, and photojournalist, Aaron Smeltzer, were killed.

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McCormick and Smeltzer had just interviewed Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant as they reported on fringe storms in North Carolina, hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the center of Alberto. Tennant says minutes later he got a call “and it was them.”

Tennant didn’t directly blame Alberto for the deaths, noting the tree became loose in ground already saturated by a week rain.