The Cape Breton community of Louisdale is mourning the loss of a teacher and two students killed Tuesday in a four-vehicle collision.

The Strait Regional School Board says school administration, guidance staff and school psychologists will provide support and counselling services to students and staff affected by the tragedy.

“Many of the students families are interconnected. Not only in those two schools, but others as well,” said Ford Rice, superintendent of the school board. “The teacher involved taught at another school, so students at that school are affected as well.”

The board has issued a statement, expressing its sympathies to the school communities of Richmond Education Centre and Felix Marchand Education Centre.

The RCMP and emergency crews responded to the collision on Highway 104 in Port Malcolm, N.S. around 12:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Police say the young teacher was heading westbound towards Port Hawkesbury when her car collided with another vehicle headed in the opposite direction. This caused the victim’s vehicle to spin out of control. It was then hit by a truck headed in the opposite direction.

Police say the female driver, identified as 26-year-old Kayla Cotton, and her rear-seat passenger, a 12-year-old girl, also from Louisdale, N.S., died at the scene.

The front-seat passenger from the same vehicle, a 13-year-old girl from Mexico, was taken to the Strait Richmond Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

“Our whole community is in darkness from this,” said resident Gary Sampson. “It's going to take a while to get over.”

“We are all so devastated,’ said resident Elenore Sampson. “They were just nice, young people.”

Cotton worked as a teacher at Felix Marchand Education Centre. Aside from that, she was as a waitress at a local family restaurant.

“She was a sweetheart,” said Elenore Sampson. “Every time you would look at her she would smile. She was just beautiful.”

When word spread about the tragedies, a special mass was held at the community church. Local residents says it was packed, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

“We've lost good friends, young girls that (are) friends with my grandchildren. Everybody is going to hurt from it.”

The two girls attended Richmond Education Centre.

Police say they were headed to a volleyball tournament in Port Hawkesbury at the time of the crash. The students were players on the team while the teacher was the coach.

Two others were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Police say road conditions were fair at the time.

A section of Highway 104, between exits 43 and 44, was closed for the rest of the day, with traffic being diverted onto Highway 4. It has since reopened to traffic.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore and The Canadian Press