Four college students are dead, including two from Massachusetts, and three others were taken to the hospital after a fiery crash in Castine, Maine, early Saturday morning.
The Maine Department of Public Safety tells NBC affiliate News Center Maine that a 20-year-old Maine Maritime Academy student was driving with six other students in a Range Rover on Shore Road (Route 166) in Castine, the town where the school is located, shortly after 2 a.m. when the vehicle allegedly went off the road before hitting a tree and bursting into flames.
The president of the Maine Maritime Academy confirmed four students were killed in the overnight crash.
"I am devastated to confirm that today Maine Maritime Academy lost four of our students in a single vehicle accident early this morning," Maine Maritime Academy President Jerry S. Paul said in a statement posted to the college's website. "Three others were injured. Our community is grieving for these young lives and for their families. While we have lost beloved members of our student body, tonight there are four families who have lost their children."
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Those who were killed have been preliminarily identified as 20-year-old Brian Kenealy of York, Maine; 21-year-old Chase Fossett of Gardiner, Maine; 22-year-old Luke Simpson of Rockport, Mass.; and 20-year-old Riley Ignacio-Cameron of Aquinnah, Mass., officials told News Center Maine.
Three students survived the crash and were taken to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. They include the driver, 20-year-old Joshua Goncalves-Radding, of North Babylon, New York; 20-year-old Noelle Tavares, of North Falmouth, Mass.; and 20-year-old Dominick Gecoya, of Middleton, Mass., News Center Maine reported citing officials.
According to News Center Maine, Shore Road was closed for more than eight hours following the fatal crash. The road has since reopened.
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Maine Maritime said it is working closely with authorities, and their top priority is supporting the school community in the hours and days ahead. Counseling services have been made available on campus, Paul said.
"I ask for continued respect and privacy of our Maine Maritime family. Please hold these young people close to your hearts and in your prayers," Paul's statement continued. "We will of course continue to work with the authorities in the coming days and continue to offer counseling support to our students, faculty and staff."
Police have not said why the SUV left the roadway. An investigation by Maine State Police is active and ongoing.