PORT HOOD, N.S. -- People in a small community in western Cape Breton were grieving the loss of three young men Tuesday who died after their car veered off a coastal road and slammed into a ditch.

Police said the compact Toyota Echo went into the ditch in Harbourview at about 11:30 p.m. Monday, 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.

Police have not identified the men, but people who knew them said two of the three who died were brothers. The RCMP would only say that a 17-year-old boy and a 19-year-old man were pronounced dead at the scene.

A 20-year-old man died before an air ambulance was able to take off for Halifax. The others in the car were between the ages of 16 and 21, Williamson said.

Allan MacMaster, the member of the legislature for Inverness, knows the two brothers and said they were from nearby Judique, a community of about 700 people.

"Everybody's very sad," he said from his office. "They're good, young people. The boys I know would always have a smile for you. ... We're just very sad to hear what's happened."

The third victim was from the nearby Port Hood area, MacMaster said.

Sgt. Al LeBlanc, a spokesman for the RCMP, said four young people in the car -- three men and a woman -- were taken to St. Martha's Regional Hospital in Antigonish to be treated for their injuries.

One of the four was later released from hospital, while another person initially transported to Antigonish was airlifted to the the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Halifax for further treatment.

Dwayne MacDonald, the deputy warden for the municipality of Inverness, also said two of the victims were brothers who were friends of his family's.

"It's a big shock for everybody involved," MacDonald said. "They're a very, very tight-knit community."

Williamson said a traffic reconstructionist was examining the site to determine how fast the car was travelling at the time. He said investigators will also inspect the car and speak to the survivors when they have been cleared by doctors.

He said families were being notified.