Three Oklahoma University meteorological students died in a car crash on their way back from Kansas in Oklahoma on Friday night, where they were chasing a storm, the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety said.
Students Nicholas Nair, 20; Gavin Short, 19; And Drake Brooks, 22.
The trio were traveling south on Interstate 35 in Tonkowa, Oklahoma, near the Kansas border when their Volkswagen Tiguan was hydroplanted and malfunctioned, blocking the outer lane, according to the Department of Public Safety. A truck struck the students’ car, leaving more than five hours before their bodies were recovered by emergency responders. The students died on the spot. The truck driver was treated at a nearby hospital and released.
The students were part of a large group of Oklahoma University students who traveled to Kansas to chase the storms, says Lt. Philip Ludwig of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol who helped rescue students from the vehicle. As the other cars of the students were returning to Norman City in Oklahoma, Mr. Nair, Mr. Short and Mr. Brooks’ GPS location was found frozen, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol was called to report an accident. Ludwig said.
“It was raining heavily then,” he said.
Dangerous road conditions can often lead to accidents when storm chasers go into or out of the storm, he said.
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“Sometimes thousands of storm chasers can try to chase a storm, causing more traffic congestion, so accidents happen,” he said. Ludwig said. But he said traffic congestion was low at the time of the accident.
In 2017, three storm chasers Were killed in the crash Spur, Texas, 70 miles east of Lubbock, when a hurricane continues. The two men, Kelly Williamson and Randall Yarn, are best known for appearing on the weather channel “Storm Wranglers”.
Sarah Raphael, a meteorological student at the University of Oklahoma who was friends with the three who died, said over the phone that friends in their group were processing the message Saturday night to comfort each other.
She formed a storm chase team with the three of them, which they called the “Metcrew Chasers”, which happened to them on a cold, snowy night in their new year. They created name stickers engraved with hook-shaped weather radar in red, orange and green – symbols that they proudly display on their computers or cars.
Mara Davis, a major in meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, was also friends with students and said by phone Saturday night that everyone on the meteorological team was close and had formed a “best friend group of 20”. On Saturday, she texted her friends to come to her apartment so they could be together.
For most of the evening, Mrs. Raphael and Mrs. Davis recalled his friends: Mr. hilarious and outgoing. One day – a good choice, his friends made fun of him because he was a bad cook.
The latest research project on hurricanes, Mr. Short how, “the most intelligent person” Mrs. Raphael said he had just met, and his friends wanted someone to succeed.
Mr. who came late to the friend group. Brooks, how quickly he won over everyone with his quick wit and his love of meteorology, especially forecasting.
“Their passion for the weather and the safety and love of everyone around the world – they were so loved,” Ms Raphael said.
Daniel Carter, a friend on the university’s meteorology team, said on Saturday that he was planning a candlelight vigil next week.
College of Atmospheric and Geographical Sciences at the University of Oklahoma a Report On Saturday, its community was “very much a family” and its members were “deeply saddened.”
“Our leadership and faculty are ready to support each and every one of our community members in the coming days, weeks and months as we all grieve this unthinkable heartache,” the college said.
On Saturday evening, the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma posted a Video Shows a weather balloon with students’ names written on it.
“On this sad day in the Norman weather community, our evening weather balloon launch is dedicated to Nick, Drake and Gavin,” the weather service said.
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”