Storm Chasers Among Those Killed In OK Tornado Friday

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(CNN) — Three storm chasers were among the nine people killed in powerful storms that struck Oklahoma on Friday night, relatives told CNN on Sunday. Tim Samaras, 55, his son Paul Samaras, 24, and Carl Young, 45, died while chasing a tornado in El Reno, relatives said.

“Thank you to everyone for the condolences. It truly is sad that we lost my great brother Tim and his great son, Paul,” Jim Samaras wrote in a statement posted on his brother’s Facebook page.

“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,” he wrote.

Tim Samaras founded TWISTEX, the Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes Experiment, to help learn more about tornadoes and increase lead time for warnings, according to the official website.

Two children were also among the dead from Friday night’s storms. Scores of people were injured.

Tim and Paul Samaras and Carl Young were known to viewers of the former Discovery Channel show “Storm Chasers.”

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Carl Young, Tim Samaras and his son. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families,” the network said in a statement.

Doug Kiesling, a videographer who chases storms and calls himself “The Weather Paparazzi,” said the three men were more than storm chasers. “They’re researchers,” he said.

“Tim wasn’t one of the guys that would go up close, he would go into the paths, drop probes, and then get out of the way.”

“This thing is really shaking up everyone in the chasing community,” he added. “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.”

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta/