RCMP say a 19-year-old man is in critical condition following an ATV accident on the west coast of Newfoundland Thursday night.

Three young men were riding in the side-by-side ATV when it rolled over on Beaver Pond Road just before 10 p.m.

The woods road runs along George's Lake, near Corner Brook.

Two others, aged 18 and 16, received less serious injuries and were treated in hospital in Corner Brook.

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Signs along Beaver Pond Road, near George's Lake, warn drivers to be cautious along the dirt road. (CBC)

RCMP say the 19-year-old was riding in the back of the side-by-side ATV, which looks more like a dune buggy or small Jeep. He suffered serious head injuries and was pinned under the machine.

He was transferred to the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's with what RCMP Sgt. Wayne Newell described as critical, life-threatening injuries.

Newell also said neither of the three were wearing helmets, nor are they mandatory on side-by-side ATVs.

"They're not required but they're strongly recommended," he said.

The 16-year-old was driving the machine. But since the side-by-side version is still considered an ATV, that's allowed, as long as it's not driven on a highway or street.

Newell said while the cause of the accident is still under investigation, the driver was able to provide some explanation as to what might've happened.

"He did indicate that he struck a pothole while trying to make a turn."

Side-by-side ATVs are equipped with seatbelts, but it's not clear if any of the three were wearing them at the time of the accident.