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Three University of Oklahoma meteorology students were killed in a crash after chasing a tornado in Kansas on Friday night.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said that the students were hit by a semi-truck in northern Oklahoma after hydroplaning on Interstate 35 in Tonkawa while heading back home after storm chasing.
Nicholas Nair, 20, Gavin Short, 19, and Drake Brooks, 22, died in the crash that happened just before 11:30 p.m., according to a report by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The three people were all meteorology students at the University of Oklahoma.
The students were pinned in the car for over five hours before they were removed, and were pronounced dead on the scene, according to FOX Weather.
Short posted to Twitter on Friday night with a video of a tornado that he took while storm chasing in Kansas.
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The University of Oklahoma College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences said it is “deeply saddened” by the loss of the three students.
“We are deeply saddened and our sincerest condolences go out to all affected families and friends,” the college wrote. “Our community in Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences is close-knit, and our School of Meteorology is very much a family.”
A spokesperson told FOX Weather that it is “devastated” by the loss.
“The university is devastated to learn of the tragic passing of three students. Each were valued and loved members of our community. At this time, we ask the public to respect the privacy of their families,” the spokesperson said.
Brayden Siau, a meteorology student at the University of Oklahoma told News 4 that one of the students who died saw his first tornado on Friday.
“They had a great day. They call their parents after and we’re telling them about how excited they were,” Siau said.. “Drake actually saw his first tornado yesterday.”
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Siau said that friends of the students who died are planning to host a candlelight vigil at the National Weather Center, which is on the University of Oklahoma’s campus.
The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma, released a weather balloon dedicated to the three students.
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“On this very sad day in the Norman weather community, our evening weather balloon launch is dedicated to Nic, Drake and Gavin – OU meteorology students who died in a tragic traffic accident last night,” that National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma, tweeted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report