Weather Channel Storm Chaser Talks About Surviving OK Tornado

Monday, June 3rd 2013, 6:48 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Among those killed in Friday's tornados was well known Storm Chaser Tim Samaras, and his crew. Also injured were three members of the Weather Channel storm chase team, one who remained in the hospital Monday.

Samaras was known as one of the most conservative and safe storm chasers out there. The Weather Channel crew was also very experienced. But News 9 meteorologists says the tornado was acting extremely erratic.

The Weather Channel crew was heading down Highway 81 on Friday when the tornado turned and headed right for them. Photojournalist Austin Anderson was driving.

"I gunned it and we were going down 81 to get around it. As it turned left some more, it caught us," Anderson said from his hospital bed at OU Medical Center on Monday. "I could remember it tumbling through the air and my head getting jerked back and forth."

Tim Samaras and his crew weren't as fortunate. Samaras, known for his appearances on National Geographic and Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers." as well as his 24-year-old son Paul and chase partner Carl Young were killed.

6/2/2013 Related Story: Three Storm Chasers Killed Chasing Tornado In El Reno

They were caught in the same storm and same scenario.

"The roads were jammed, visibility was low," recalls News 9's David Payne who was also out chasing on Friday. He says the tornado all of a sudden made an unexpected hard left turn..

"It makes a left turn, it accelerates North and suddenly you have a tornado that's moving at 40 miles per hour and you're on a country road with a lot of chasers, it's not a good set up," said Payne.

Austin, he has a cracked sternum, five broken ribs, a broken vertebrae, and a cracked vertebrae in his neck. He says it's only through the grace of God he's alive.

"Tornados are an amazing act of nature and it's always amazing for me to see it. I just don't think I should be as close as I was to this one."

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak