While driving back from a storm-chasing excursion in Kansas, three undergraduate meteorology students were tragically killed in an automobile accident.
The University of Oklahoma students Nicholas Nair, Gavin Short and Drake Brooks all perished at the scene.
The two drivers had just shared footage of a tornado sweeping over a roadway near Herington, Kansas, on Twitter before they collided.
They were returning to Oklahoma when their car hydroplaned and was hit by a tractor-trailer in the rain.
The collision occurred at Tonkawa, Oklahoma, which is just north of the Kansas line.
According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, their Volkswagen Tiguan slipped in the water, got stopped in the outer lane of traffic, and was then struck.
The tractor-trailer driver was discharged from the hospital today.
University of Oklahoma president Joseph Harroz Jr. stated in a statement on Sunday that Drake, Nic, and Gavin were joined in a “common passion.”
Their dedication to helping others is an example to us all. “We sorrow this immense and deep loss while remembering the foundation of their chosen vocation.”
Three University of Oklahoma students were apparently part of a larger group of students that traveled to Kansas over the weekend to pursue the tornado.
Storm chasing is the pursuit of tornadoes and hurricanes, frequently by photographing, filming, and documenting their path.
Research and media attention are two common reasons why people engage in storm chasing; thrill seekers are another.
Students’ names were printed on a weather balloon on Saturday night by the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma.
“Our evening weather balloon launch is dedicated to Nic, Drake, and Gavin on this very sad day in the Norman weather community,” the service stated.