A Georgia television news anchor, Taylor Terrell of 41NBC in Macon, Ga., was killed Thursday after she was swept over a waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest, near Asheville, N.C.
Terrell’s death is the second recently in the Pisgah National Forest, a 500,000-acre wildlife area, according to the Forest Service. Last Saturday, a man jumped off the top of Elk River Falls in the same forest. His body was recovered from the deep pool at the base of the waterfall Monday.
Terrell, of Stockbridge, Ga., had visited Rainbow Falls with a friend on Thursday to celebrate her 25th birthday. She was wading in the Horsepasture River when she lost her footing on rocks covered with algae, a spokeswoman for the Forest Service told the Associated Press.
“The current swept her up and over the falls,” she said.
Her body was recovered at the base of the waterfall. Fire and rescue officials said the fall was about 185 feet.
Transylvania County’s chief deputy sheriff, Eddie Gunter, told the Telegraph of Macon that the department investigates about three deaths at the falls each year, calling it a “real dangerous spot.” He said his department has already investigated seven deaths related to waterfalls this year alone in the county.
The Forest Service put out a warning:
The best way to enjoy a waterfall is from a safe distance. Heed posted warning signs indicating danger and stay on established trails. Never climb on or around waterfalls and never play in the water above a waterfall. Rocks can be slippery and it’s easy to lose your balance especially with bare feet. Currents near waterfalls can be extremely swift even in areas further upstream.
Never jump off waterfalls or dive into plunge pools at the base of waterfalls. Rocks and logs can be hidden beneath the surface of the water. Often waterfall pools have swirling water or currents that can drag and keep you underwater.
Even if you have seen other people enjoy playing around waterfalls, be aware that they have been lucky to escape unharmed. Waterfalls are constantly changing with varying water flows and erosion of the rocks around them. The current from one place to the next may be faster than you anticipate and the arrangement of rocks or other debris such as logs in the plunge pool is ever changing.
Terrell anchored the weekday morning show “Daybreak” and also appeared on the 11 a.m. newscast and on daily news reports.
She began at 41NBC as an intern in 2013 after graduating from Georgia Southern University with a degree in public relations. The station hired her as a reporter and she was soon promoted to weekend anchor, then morning show anchor.
“Taylor’s diverse experiences have made her an asset to our team,” 41NBC News Director Brandon Long wrote on Terrell’s website.
“She was a bright spot in the mornings for us here at 41NBC for about two years, and she loved working as a reporter,” he said.
The area is known for its six waterfalls, which are often promoted as tourist attractions.