Three veteran storm chasers were among the 10 people killed when a violent tornado barreled into the Oklahoma City metro area.
Jim Samaras told The Associated Press yesterday that his brother Tim Samaras, 54, of Bennett, Colo., was killed Friday. Tim Samaras’ son, 24-year-old Paul Samaras, also of Bennett; and another chaser, Carl Young, also died.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said it believed the deaths were the first time scientific researchers were killed while chasing tornadoes.
The Samarases and Young were pursuing an EF3 tornado as it bore down on a metropolitan area of more than 1 million people.
“He looked at tornadoes not for the spotlight of TV but for the scientific aspect. At the end of the day, he wanted to save lives and he gave the ultimate sacrifice for that,” Jim Samaras said.
The Storm Prediction Center issued a statement yesterday, saying it was terribly saddened by Tim Samaras’ death.
“Samaras was a respected tornado researcher and friend ... who brought to the field a unique portfolio of expertise in engineering, science, writing and videography,” the center’s statement said.
Tim Samaras had appeared on the Discovery Channel’s “Storm Chasers” show until last year and also contributed to the National Geographic Society.
“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 last night to the three men, capping the broadcast with a tribute that read: “In memory of Tim Samaras, Carl Young and Paul Samaras who died Friday, May 31st doing what they love, chasing storms.”
Jim Samaras said his brother, nephew and their colleague were dedicated to avoiding trouble while chasing storms, and that the family wasn’t worried about whether he was taking care of himself.