In a head collision involving a car and a tanker lorry near Mamallapuram on East Coast Road on Thursday morning, three men died on the spot and two others, including Faizal, son of veteran actor Nasser, are said to be critical.

The five youngsters were on their way back from Puducherry to Chennai when the accident occurred. Mamallapuram police officers investigating the accident said the men — Noorul Asan Faizal (24) of Valasaravakkam, Vijayakumar Shanmugasundaram (24) of Ramapuram, Syed Abu Nihal (24) of Alwarthirunagar, Sankar Subramani (23) of Thiru-vi-ka Nagar, and Jithu Ramachandran (23) of Paramkudi, Ramanathapuram — were travelling in a black Volkswagen Polo.

“Around 7.40 a.m., when the car reached Manamai village, five kilometres from Mamallapuram, it suddenly veered to the right side of the road and smashed into the tanker. Sayed, Sankar and Jithu were killed on the spot, and Faizal and Vijayakumar were critically injured,” said an investigating officer.

The car was completely damaged in the crash, and local villagers, along with the police, had to cut it open to pull out the occupants.

Faizal, who is the eldest son of Nasser, and his friend were rushed to Government General Hospital in Chengalpettu and later shifted to Chettinad Health City in Kelambakkam.

“The boys had gone to Puducherry on Wednesday to celebrate Jithu’s birthday and were returning home after a party. It is not clear yet who was driving the car or what caused the collision as the survivors remain unconscious,” the officer added.

The Mamallapuram police seized the tanker lorry and arrested its driver Sudalaimani, a native of Pudukottai. The bodies of the victims were handed over to their relatives on Thursday evening after post-mortem, sources said.

(With additional reporting by V. Venkatasubramanian)

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