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Tim Samaras, who had appeared on The Discovery Channel’s show, Storm Chasers, was killed by an EF-3 tornado which touched down in El Reno, OK on Friday, May 31, 2013.
The CNN video linked in this story is the last Mr. Samaras ever recorded.
It shows just how much risk that the professional meteorologist was willing to take for the sake of his research. The video shows how the scientist got directly in the path of the storm before he was literally consumed by it.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The original version of this article contained the CNN video and an additional video which was uploaded to YouTube. That video, while incredible and chilling, was later discovered to be depicting a tornado encountered by Steve Casey, not Tim Samaras. It was removed by YouTube today as well as from this story.
During the May 20 EF-5 tornado which destroyed Moore, OK, Liberty News released epic viral videos of the storm, but also asked the very serious question, is capturing such videos really worth the potential loss of life incurred by the videographer.
It is very important to note that Tim Samaras, who was killed along with his son, Paul Samaras, and fellow researcher, Carl Young, were not thrill-seeking. Tim Samaras was fifty-five years old and had studied tornadoes up-close for more than thirty years. Paul was twenty-four and well acquainted with the “Family business.” Mr. Carl Young was forty-five.
These men were not amateur videographers or untrained citizens who were recording the storm for the sake of making a viral YouTube hit.
These men were scientists who studied tornadoes in order to help other meteorologists find out more about them in order to provide cities with earlier warning systems to save more lives before, during, and after a twister like the one which claimed their lives.
The Christian Post interviewed several of Tim’s friends. Eric Treece, told Denver’s FOX31, “Tim was one of the safest, mostly highly regarded chasers in the game.” ABC News’ Ginger Zee, who was close to Mr. Samaras, added:
“Out of all storm chasers he doesn’t take chances, he’s the one that puts the probes in the path of the tornado to learn more about them. He is not, you know, a young gun running around making bad decisions person, so I am so sad and shocked, it is such a loss for the community.”
This video shows the approach the team took which led them right into the patch of a very erratic storm which changed course suddenly and simply enveloped the storm chasing vehicle.
“While Tim was found inside his car, with his seat belt on, Paul and Young were dragged out from a car by the tornado, which reportedly took a sudden turn.”