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HALIFAX -- Three women are dead after a minivan crashed into a tractor-trailer while making a U-turn in northern New Brunswick.

The RCMP say the crash happened on Highway 11 near Bathurst just before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Police believe the minivan was travelling north when it tried to make a U-turn between the Sainte-Anne Street and King Street exits. As it was making the U-turn, it collided with the tractor-trailer, which was also travelling north.

A 64-year-old woman, 75-year-old woman, and 88-year-old woman, who were all passengers in the minivan, died at the scene. Police say they were all from Lamèque, N.B. Their names have not been released.

Two of the women killed were nuns at a church in the community.  The third woman was a church member.

A driver and a passenger, who are also nuns, were not seriously injured.

The five were returning from a celebration mass in Bathurst when the crash occurred.

The driver of the tractor-trailer wasn’t injured.

Highway 11 was closed for 10 hours while police attended the scene. It reopened around 5:30 a.m.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.