Three University of Oklahoma meteorology students returned from Kansas, where they chased a storm, died Friday night after their car aquaplaned and was hit by a truck.
Nicholas Nair, 20, Gavin Short, 19, and Drake Brooks, 22, were driving south on Interstate 35 in Tonkawa, Okla. around 11:30 p.m. when their 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan left the road, then returned and was struck by a tractor-trailer traveling in the same direction, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Saturday.
Tonkawa Fire Department officials and paramedics spent more than five hours freeing the men from the wreckage, but all three were pronounced dead at the scene.
The truck driver was hospitalized and has since been released.
“We are deeply saddened and our deepest condolences go out to all affected families and friends,” the University of Oklahoma College of Atmospheric and Geographical Sciences said in a statement.
“Our atmospheric and geographical sciences community is very close-knit and our School of Meteorology is truly a family. Now, more than ever, we need to come together in kindness and sincere support for one another. Please join us in offering thoughts and prayers to those most affected and ensuring their privacy.
A tornado swept through Andover, Kansas on Friday, damaging or destroying more than 1,000 buildings, including City Hall, the local YMCA and an elementary school.