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Three University of Oklahoma meteorology students headed home from Kansas, where they had been storm chasing, died Friday night after their car hydroplaned and was hit by a truck.
Nicholas Nair, 20, Gavin Short, 19, and Drake Brooks, 22, were traveling southbound on Interstate 35 in Tonkawa, Okla. around 11:30 p.m., when their 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan veered off the road, then back on and was slammed by a semi traveling in the same direction, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Saturday.
The 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 sincerest condolences go out to all affected families and friends,” the University of Oklahoma’s College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences said in a statement.
“Our community in Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences is close-knit and our School of Meteorology is very much a family. Now, more than ever, we must come together in kindness and heartfelt support for one another. Please join us in offering thoughts and prayers for those most impacted and providing them with privacy.”
A tornado swept through Andover, Kan., Friday, damaging or destroying more than 1,000 buildings, including City Hall, the local YMCA and an elementary school.