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Featured Image Credit: Nic Nair
Three University of Oklahoma students have died after being struck by a lorry while returning from a storm-chasing trip.
Drake Brooks, 22, Nicholas Nair, 20, and Gavin Short, 19, had been chasing a tornado in Kansas when the incident took place on Friday (April 29), just south of the Kansas border and approximately 70 miles from the Wichita area.
The Oklahoma Highway Patro (OHP) explained the weather was rainy and roads were wet at the time, causing the students' car to hydroplane before it was struck by the lorry.
Prior to the crash, the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences students had posted footage online showing an apparent tornado near Herington, Kansas, about 70 miles northeast from Wichita.
A friend of the trio, Daniel Carter, told CNN he had check the location of Brooks, Nair and Short while on their trip and noticed they had not moved from the same spot on the road for more than half an hour on Friday night.
He initially hoped they were stuck in traffic, but then he and his friends began calling every hospital within 200 miles to see if they could learn any information about the students. It was about six hours later they discovered the three students had died.
Carter commented: "We're grieving. All three of those guys were lights to the world."
"Last night 3 of my best friends were lost in a tragic car accident in Oklahoma. Drake Brooks, Nic Nair and Gavin Short were there [sic] names. These are some of the best friends i’ve made here at OU in the school of meteorology," Carter wrote.
He described Short as 'one of the smartest, and most bright person you'd ever meet' and Nair as a 'shining light on OU's campus', and added that while he didn't know Brooks as well the pair shared 'some great conversations talking about weather, video games or anything else'.
"These three young men are people I strive to be like every single day. They were all very talented in the meteorology department and that never went unnoticed... I am going to miss the storm chasing days with these three incredible men who I called my bestfriends [sic]," he continued.
In statement addressing the loss of the students, the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences said their community is 'very much a family' and urged students to 'come together in kindness and heartfelt support for one another'.
A spokesperson for the university also said the storm-chasing trip was not sponsored by the school, CNN reports.
The OHP has said the accident is under investigation.