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Sunday, July 24, 2016

TRAGEDY: News Anchor Taylor Terrell Dies in accident a day before her BIRTHDAY #HNNmemorial

A Georgia morning news anchor plunged approximately 160 feet to her death Thursday after being swept over the top of Rainbow Falls just a day before her 25th birthday, according to authorities.

Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney confirmed Saturday that Taylor Terrell, 24, died in the accident.

Terrell, of Conyers, Georgia, anchored 41NBC News at Daybreak and 41Today in Macon, Georgia. According to 13WMAZ News Director Erica Carr, Terrell was an "avid hiker" and had taken Friday off from work.

"(Friday) was her 25th birthday," Carr said. "She was a beloved morning anchor (and) a sweet, beautiful girl. Everybody is devastated here."

On Friday morning, Terrell's parents informed the television station that they're daughter was in an accident and did not survive, according to News Director Brandon Long. Terrell had been working with 41NBC since August of 2013. She started as a reporter before she was promoted to an anchor position.

“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,” according to a statement issued by her news station. “This is a devastating loss for us here at 41NBC and most definitely for her family.”

Terrell had been wading in the creek with a friend at the top of Rainbow Falls when she lost her footing on some rocks covered in algae, according to spokeswoman Cathy Dowd with the United States Forest Service. She was then swept over Rainbow Falls by the swift current.

The incident took place just after 4 p.m. Thursday, according to firefighters at the Lake Toxaway Fire Department. Her body had been recovered by 8:30 p.m.

The U.S. Forest Service investigated the fatality with the assistance of the Transylvania County Sheriff's Office. Terrell's death was considered to be "accidental," Dowd said Friday.

Her death marked the first fatality at Rainbow Falls in 2016, according to Dowd. In the past 10 years, there have been seven deaths in the Pisgah National Ranger District.

With files from WXIA 11 Alive

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