Storm Chasers stars killed in Oklahoma tornado

Three men featured on the Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers were among the nine people who died during Friday’s tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma. Tim Samaras, 55; his son, Paul Samaras, 24; and Carl Young, 45, all died while chasing the tornado.

Tim’s brother wrote on Facebook that “They all unfortunately passed away but doing what they LOVED. Chasing Tornado’s [sic]. “

The network said in a statement on Twitter, “We’re heartbroken by the loss of [Tim Samaras], son Paul & Carl Young and all those lost in Friday’s storm in Oklahoma.” In a blog post/obituary, Discovery recounts how the men got started in storm chasing and reports that Sunday night’s special “Mile Wide Tornado: Oklahoma Disaster, at 10|9C, will be dedicated to their memory.”

Another storm chaser, Doug Kiesling, told CNN, “This thing is really shaking up everyone in the chasing community. 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. … He’s had close calls but he’s always had an escape route.”

Tim, Paul, and Carl joined the cast in 2009, for the show’s third season, and were identified as the TWISTEX team, named after the tornado probe project Tim founded.

This isn’t the first death of a star of the show: Matt Hughes, who was also featured on the show, killed himself in 2010.

The documentary series was cancelled in early 2012 after five seasons. Here’s a clip from TWISTEX’s first season:

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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.