Two teenagers have been killed in a road accident in county Armagh this morning.
The incident happened on Cladymilltown Road, between Markethill and Newtownhamilton earlier this morning.
A police spokesperson said: “Police can confirm that two male teenagers have died as a result of a single vehicle collision in Markethill this morning.
“The 17-year-olds were the driver and front seat passenger in a Vauxhall Astra car that left the Cladymilltown Road at around 8.30am.
Inspector Lynsey Barr has appealed for anyone who witnessed the collision or who noticed the Vauxhall Astra being driven on the Cladymilltown Road this morning to contact police on 101.
The road remains closed while PSNI Collision Investigation Unit examines the scene of the collision.
The students went to Southern Regional College together, studying engineering at the Armagh campus.
They were driving to the Portadown campus today for a competition when their car left the road and hit a tree.
John McPoland of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said they were called to the scene of the crash at 8.30am.
“We immediately sent two rapid response paramedics, two A&E crews and a doctor who worked at the scene at this very serious incident,” he added.
Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has spoken of his sadness from the scene.
He said: “This is such a tragedy with the lives of two young local lads lost in an instant, it really is such a horrific loss for the families of both young men. I understand that another passenger has been taken to hospital for treatment and I certainly hope he makes a speedy recovery.
“Speaking to Police it seems that no other vehicle was involved and the car has left the road and hit a tree. With what has been described as the miraculous escape of the drivers involved in the lorry crash in Markethill last week, here only some days later, we are dealing with two fatalities and that is so hard to take in.
“Having lost a child of my own in an swimming accident some years back, I know just how painful and totally devastating this will be for the families involved and words really cannot describe the anguish this awful ordeal brings. My sincerest thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two young men and I would of course urge every driver to be aware, alert and take extra care on our roads.”
Police investigating fatal RTC at Cladymilltown Rd, Markethill around 8.30am this morning. Two 17 yo male youths have died.
— PSNI Armagh (@PSNIArmagh) January 21, 2016
Sinn Féin Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan has extended his sympathies to the families
“The news that a fatal accident occurred at Cladymilltown Road has shocked and saddened the local community. My thoughts, and those of local people, are with the family and friends of the two young men who lost their lives in such tragic circumstances.”
The Assembly member who is Road Safety spokesperson for Sinn Féin continued: “There have been a high number of collisions within the constituency since the beginning of they year and I would urge all road users to be extremely careful in the present weather conditions, we have been quite lucky with regard winter conditions this year, but over the next few days and weeks that could change, and so drivers need to take that extra care on our roads.
“Hills and bends, such as in the area of this accident, take on a quite different scenario in poor conditions even for those who use the same road regularly. I would urge all road users to take account of the changeable conditions we may be faced with throughout the island.
“Every death is tragic this mornings terrible news will have brought suffering to families and friends. I say again today, any death on our roads is one death too many.”
SDLP Councillor Sharon Haughey-Grimley has also expressed her deep sadness at the incident.
Cllr Haughey said: “The entire community are stunned by this very sad news this morning that two young men have lost their lives on the Cladymilltown Road.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims families at this devastating time and also with the injured passenger and I hope he makes a full recovery from this heartbreaking accident.
“Unfortunately this is not the first time that this particular road has claimed lives. Its an extremely dangerous and fast road with poor visibility at times. Driving conditions this morning were also undoubtedly affected by the bad weather.
“I urge all road users to take extra care on our roads at all times.
“Two families have been absolutely devastated today and no words will bring them comfort at this time but the prayers of the entire community are with them so that they may find the strength to face this.”