Published June 03, 2013
Tim Samaras, a tornado scientist who became famous on the Discovery show "Storm Chasers," was among at least 15 people killed -- along with his son and a friend -- in the latest rash of tornadoes in Oklahoma on Friday.
But a rep for Discovery tells FOX411 that Samaras, 55, who died with his son Paul, 24, and Carl Young, 45, was not shooting for the network when the tragedy occurred.
"They were not shooting for us," the rep explained. "Their show aired for five seasons, but ended in November of 2011."
'Storm Chasers' followed different storm chasers as they tracked tornadoes across the country, getting as close as they can to the deadly twisters. Following Friday's deaths, many questioned whether Discovery would introduce new safety measures into future tornado specials.
Discovery had no comment, but a source close to the network told FOX411 that Samaras and his team were not some amateur thrill seeker, but scientists, "probably the most careful in the business. Their goal was to be able to predict and protect people by giving them more lead time. They weren't some amateurs running after tornadoes."
The source also noted that while Discovery still ran tornado specials, including one on Sunday night about the May 20 Oklahoma tornado that killed 24 people, they typically worked with independent production companies that gathered the footage.
Following the terrible news on Friday, Discovery released a statement and dedicated Sunday's speical to their memory.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Tim Samaras his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young,” the rep told FOX411. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.”
Samaras was a 20-year veteran of storm chasing and founded the project TWISTEX (Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes Experiment), which gathers weather information by placing devices in the way of tornadoes, Fox 17 reports.
In 2004, Tim Samaras dropped a probe into the path of an EF-4 tornado, where it measured a 100 millibar pressure drop -- a record that still stands today, the Discovery Channel's website says.
Since 2003, Tim Samaras, meteorologist Carl Young and their team have tracked down more than 125 tornadoes, according to Young's biography on Discovery Channel's website.
Five tornadoes swept through the Oklahoma City area on Friday, killing at least 10 and injuring 115, according to authorities who spoke to the Associated Press.