Tornado rips through Kansas; 3 students killed in crash

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A tornado that barreled through parts of Kansas destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and buildings, injured several people and left more than 15,000 people without power, officials said Saturday.

In addition to wreckage from the tornado itself, three University of Oklahoma meteorology students traveling back from storm chasing in Kansas were also killed in a crash Friday evening, according to officials.

Nicholas Nair, 20, of Denton, Texas; Gavin Short, 19, of Grayslake, Illinois; and Drake Brooks, 22, of Evansville, Indiana, died in the crash shortly before 11:30 p.m. Friday, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

The three were in a vehicle being driven by Nair southbound on Interstate 35 when the vehicle hydroplaned and was struck by a tractor-trailer rig in Tonkawa, about 85 miles (137 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City, the report said.

A statement released by OU said: “The university is devastated to learn of the tragic passing of three students. Each were valued and loved members of our community.”

More than 1,000 buildings were affected when a strong twister swept through Andover on Friday evening, according to authorities. In the daylight Saturday, emergency crews found a more widespread path of destruction than was earlier estimated.