A Georgia news anchor fell over one hundred feet to her death over a North Carolina waterfall last week, but the story is just now gaining attention in the national media.
As CBS News reports, Taylor Terrell, who was a news anchor for WGMT in Macon Georgia, was wading just above Rainbow Falls in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina on Thursday, the day before she would have turned 25 years old.
— AJC (@ajc) July 24, 2016
Friends and co-workers described the up-and-coming news anchor as an avid hiker, but on Thursday, she succumbed to a tragic accident that could have happened to any hiker, novice or expert alike. As she was wading in a creek above the 160-foot high waterfall, she slipped on an algae-covered rock, lost her footing, and was carried over the falls by the current.
— 10News WTSP (@10NewsWTSP) July 23, 2016
Taylor was accompanied by a friend when she suffered her fatal fall, according to WMAZ (Macon, Georgia). It is not clear, as of this writing, if the friend suffered any injuries in the incident.
Forest Service spokeswoman Cathy Dowd, speaking to Reuters, said that waterfalls could be dangerous.
“Sometimes people are just unaware of how strong that current actually is. Even if you think you’re not that close to the edge of the falls, if you lose your balance and cannot get back up, you can put yourself in a very serious situation.”
In a statement, WMGT news director Brandon Long noted that Taylor’s colleagues are mourning the loss of their friend.
“Taylor was a hard worker with a bright smile. She rose through the ranks from intern to reporter, to weekend anchor, to morning anchor and was eager to prepare for her next chapter. This is a devastating loss for us here at 41NBC and most definitely for her family.”
Rainbow Falls is located in Gorges State Park, about 55 miles from Asheville in Transylvania County. The heavily wooded, mountainous region is popular with hikers and swimmers alike, and Rainbow Falls is one of several beautiful and dangerous waterfalls in the county. In the past ten years, seven people have died at waterfalls in the area.
The weekend before Taylor Terrell fell to her death, another person died at a North Carolina waterfall. In that instance, a man jumped 40 feet over the top of Elk River Falls in the same forest.
Elk River Falls is a beautiful place people pic.twitter.com/OUwG7aroN7
— Trey Adams (@TreyCephus3) June 18, 2016
According to the High Country Press, 39-year-old Jacques Downing of Newland, North Carolina jumped over the top of the falls on July 16 and never resurfaced. His body was found by divers the following Tuesday. He was the 15th person to die at the popular waterfall in the past 20 years.
Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye has had enough with dive teams having to risk their lives to recover the bodies of people who died after mistakenly thinking they could survive jumping over the 40-foot waterfall.
“My heart breaks and our prayers are with a wonderful Avery County family. It is sad that for 10 years we have tried to get the federal government to take some type of action to curb these needless deaths about 15 in the last 20 years… Each time rescue workers and divers put their lives at risk to help provide closure for a family.”
As of this writing, funeral arrangements for Taylor Terrell have not been announced.
[Image via Jim Lietsman | Flickr | Cropped and Resized | By CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0]