Doomed Storm Chasers Stressed Safety

Tim Samaras, son, partner weren't reckless

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 3, 2013 7:04 AM CDT | Updated Jun 3, 2013 7:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – The three storm chasers who died Friday in an Oklahoma tornado knew what they were doing, according to family, friends, colleagues, and experts in the field. Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and his partner Carl Young were all known from the Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers. One meteorologist explains that they didn't chase storms for the thrills, but because they were interested in tornado research, the Los Angeles Times reports. Samaras' brother says safety was "one of the biggest things he stressed," but this time, "the tornado took a clear turn toward them." In fact, Samaras' last tweet on Friday, showing clouds gathering in the distance, warned readers to "stay weather savvy."

Samaras had even founded a project that aimed to learn more about tornadoes so that warnings could be given earlier. Another meteorologist, who was in a Weather Channel truck that also got caught in the tornado, explains this one was simply a particularly "erratic" and unpredictable one. Chillingly, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper heard the men's last words as they were caught in the storm. "They were screaming, 'We're going to die, we're going to die,'" she tells the Detroit Free Press. "There was just no place to go. There was no place to hide." The men are believed to be the first scientific researchers to die while chasing a storm, the AP reports.

This undated photo provided by The Discovery Channel shows Carl Young and Tim Samaras watching the sky.
This undated photo provided by The Discovery Channel shows Carl Young and Tim Samaras watching the sky.   (AP Photo/Discovery Channel)
This May 26, 2006, file photo, shows the license plate on the truck of tornado chaser Tim Samaras, in Ames, Iowa.
This May 26, 2006, file photo, shows the license plate on the truck of tornado chaser Tim Samaras, in Ames, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
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