EL RENO, Okla. (AP) — Three veteran storm chasers were among the 10 people killed Friday night when a violent tornado barreled into the Oklahoma City metro area.
Jim Samaras told The Associated Press on Sunday that his brother Tim Samaras was killed. Tim Samaras' son, Paul Samaras, and another chaser, Carl Young, also died.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said the men were involved in tornado research. They traveled the Great Plains in search of bad weather, hoping to warn people ahead of tornadoes and to help meteorologists understand the natural disasters.
The three died Friday night near El Reno when an EF3 tornado with winds up to 165 mph hit the Oklahoma City area during rush hour.
"They put themselves in harm's way so that they can educate the public about the destructive power of these storms," Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West said of the men Sunday after Oklahoma's governor turned out to view damage in his area.
Tim Samaras had appeared on the Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers" show until last year.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Samaras his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families," Discovery Channel spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg said.
The channel planned to dedicate a show Sunday night to the three men, capping the broadcast with a tribute that will read: "In memory of Tim Samaras, Carl Young and Paul Samaras who died Friday, May 31st doing what they love, chasing storms."
Associated Press writers Thomas Peipert in Denver, Lynn Elber in Los Angeles and Kelly P. Kissel in Little Rock, Ark., contributed to this report.