A Cape Breton community is trying to come to terms with a devastating loss after three young men were killed in a car accident Monday night.

RCMP responded to the single-vehicle collision on Shore Road in Harbourview, south of Port Hood, around 11:30 p.m.

Police say the car veered off the road and slammed into a ditch, ejecting all but one of the seven people in the car.

RCMP Cpl. Scott Williamson said the Jaws of Life had to be used to rescue the person trapped in the car.

Logan Patrick MacIntyre, 17, and his brother, Morgan Christopher MacIntyre, 19, both from Judique, were pronounced dead at the scene. Morgan’s twin brother, Mitchell, was also injured in the crash.

Allan MacMaster, the member of the legislature for Inverness, says he knew the MacIntyre brothers well.

“Nicest young boys you would want to meet,” says MacMaster. “Always had a smile for you, very kind.”

Joel Cecil Chandler, 20, a fisherman from Port Hood, died before an air ambulance was able to take off for Halifax.

The other four passengers of the car were taken to St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish.

The 16-year-old driver has since been released from hospital while three of the four survivors - an 18-year-old male and a 19-year-old male, both from the Judique area, and a 21-year-old female from Isle Madame - have been transferred to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax with serious injuries.

Former educator John Gillies says he knew all seven people in the car as well as their families.

“People’s hearts are broken for the families. We can’t imagine the pain and anguish they’re dealing with at this time.”

Students gathered at Dalbrae Academy in Mabou on Tuesday for support.

“Yesterday we did set up grief counselling at the school,” says Principal Kevin Walker. “We offered that service to both students and staff. We had several staff members in, offering them support. We’ll be monitoring that and assessing that on a daily basis.”

Police say the cause of the crash remains unknown. A traffic analyst report and mechanical inspection of the vehicle will help police determine whether speed was a factor and if charges should be laid.

For now, Gillies says the community is focused on healing.

“I think of the parents who are going against the natural order, having to bury their teenaged sons, or sons in young adulthood. They’re making funeral arrangements.”

“We just want to be respectful of the families,” says MacMaster. “Give them space but also make sure they know the communities are here, everybody’s here with them, praying for them.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald