RCMP say three men between the ages of 17 and 20 are dead after a single-vehicle crash on Monday night in Inverness County.
A car with seven people on board was travelling northbound on Shore Road in Judique— south of Port Hood — when it left the road at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Monday, said RCMP Sgt. Al LeBlanc.
LeBlanc said two of the men were pronounced dead at the scene. A third man was scheduled to be airlifted to a hospital in Halifax but died before that could happen, he said.
The four other occupants — three men and a woman — were taken to St. Martha's Regional Hospital in Antigonish. One of them was later transported to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax for further treatment.
'It was just chaos, total chaos.' —Peggy Marple
Peggy Marple, a medical first responder with the nearby Port Hood Fire Department, arrived on scene shortly after the crash.
"There was one boy in the ditch and one on the side of the road and then there was a boy in the car and there was a boy on the other side of the road in the bushes and the girl was thrown over into the field. That's the only ones I seen. Yeah, it was just chaos, total chaos," she said.
RCMP Const. Brad Anderson said the seven people were crammed into a five-seat car and speed is believed to have been a factor.
No names have been released.
Two weeks ago, officials at the provincial department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal warned drivers to be careful in the summer, saying sunny skies, clear roads and long days don't guarantee a safe ride.
"I urge people to slow down, buckle up and pay attention as they travel the province," Maurice Smith, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, said in a statement.
"It is heartbreaking to think that many of the recent deaths on our province's roads could have been avoided."
Provincial officials said almost half of Nova Scotia's highway fatalities last year happened from June through September.
Since June 1, 25 people have died on the province’s roads and highways bringing the total number of fatalities up to 47 this year.
Alcohol and speed are still major factors, but RCMP Insp. Ray Oliver said distracted driving accounts for more than a third of all traffic deaths.