Four students died and three others were injured after the SUV they were traveling in crashed early Saturday in the town of Castine, Maine, authorities said.
Jerry Paul, president of Maine Maritime Academy, where all seven attended, said in a statement that he was devastated. The school offers guidance to students, faculty and staff who might need it, he said.
“Our community mourns for these young lives and for their families,” Paul said.
Maine State Police officers responding to the crash into a roadside tree just after 2 a.m. found four people dead inside the 2013 Range Rover, the door-keeper said. agency spokesman Shannon Moss in a statement.
The four were previously identified as Brian Kenealy, 20, of York, Maine; Chase Fossett, 21, of Gardiner, Maine; Luke Simpson, 22, of Rockport, Mass.; and Riley Ignacio-Cameron, 20, of Aquinnah, Mass., according to the statement.
Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash.
The vehicle was heading south when it left a roadway, hit a tree and burst into flames, Moss said.
The driver and two other passengers, all in their 20s, survived and were hospitalized with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, the agency said.
All seven were students at the academy, a public school dating from around 1941 that prepares students for careers in overseas transportation, the navy and other ocean-focused pursuits. The institution, with school ships at its disposal, offers degrees ranging from associate to master.
Castine, about 35 miles south of Bangor, Maine, has a population of about 1,100, slightly more than the academy’s student body.
Elizabeth Maline contributed.