“Storm Chasers” star Tim Samaras, 55, his 24-year-old son, Paul, and a 45-year-old colleague were among those killed when powerful storms, including several tornadoes, tore through Oklahoma on Friday.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Samaras, his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young,” the Discovery Channel said in a statement released Sunday. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.”
The men died while chasing an F-3 tornado in El Reno, Okla., near Oklahoma City. At least nine people, including a mother and her baby were killed during Friday’s storms, officials said.
“Thank you to everyone for the condolences,” Tim Samaras’ brother, Jim, wrote on Tim’s Facebook wall. “It truly is sad that we lost my great brother Tim and his great son, Paul. Our hearts also go out to the Carl Young family as well as they are feeling the same feelings we are today. They all unfortunately passed away but doing what they loved.
“I look at it that he is in the ‘big tornado in the sky,'” Jim added.
The “Storm Chasers” series ended in November after five seasons on the Discovery Channel. The network said it would dedicate Sunday’s “Mile Wide Tornado: Oklahoma Disaster”—a primetime special on the deadly tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla., on May 20—to their memory.
“This has really shaken up everyone in the storm chasing community,” Doug Kiesling, a storm photographer, told CNN. “We knew this day would happen someday, but nobody would imagine that it would happen to Tim. Tim was one of the safest people to go out there.”