A teenager driver died in a fireball smash which left four other people badly injured.
The 18-year-old – named locally as Jordan Milne – was alone in his black MG when it was involved in a collision with a silver Mercedes.
His car landed on its roof and burst into flames.
Mr Milne died at the scene of the crash on the A93 Kincardine O’Neil-Aboyne road early yesterday.
Last night, friends paid tribute to him and flowers were left at the spot where the accident happened.
The four people in the Mercedes – who are believed to have been travelling home from a wedding reception – were taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
They were a woman in her fifties, a man in his seventies, a 68-year-old woman and a man also in his sixties.
Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
One local resident said the noise of the collision woke her up and she opened her door to see the MG had become “a ball of fire”.
Amy Poor, 29, and her partner Ben Silcock, live near the crash site.
She said: “I was asleep and I don’t know if the racket woke me or not. I heard what I though was fireworks, then I thought it was neighbours coming back and we looked out the window and saw a car going up in flames.
“It was on its roof and the car was a ball of fire. It was a bit surreal. It is just the family I keep feeling for. One or two months ago we had an accident in the exact same bit.
“It must have gone up in flames within minutes. Someone came over and asked for a blanket, there was so many ambulances, fire and police.
“Apparently there was a wedding reception. There was a queue of cars coming from Aboyne.”
Two fire engines – one from Banchory and another from Aboyne – were called to the scene at 1.10am and crews extinguished the car fire.
A fire brigade spokesman said: “We had two crews, one from Aboyne and one from Banchory and 12 firefighters in total.
“The crews made the scene safe and extinguished the fire. We had a hose reel jet and two breathing apparatus in use and small gear.”
The road was closed for eight hours as investigators tried to piece-together what happened.
Mr Milne, who is understood to have been from Lumphanan, was described last night as a “genuine, lovely guy”.
Friends paid tribute to him on social media.
Eilidh Mutch said: “Rest in peace. I remember you fondly from school. Such a horrible thing to happen. Thinking of your family.”
Oakley Isaac added: “Can’t believe I’m even writing this Jordan Milne, it just doesn’t seem real. You were such a genuine, lovely guy to know and grow up with.
“You will be missed so much. Rest in peace Jordan, sleep tight.”
One friend said: “RIP Jordan, you were a good loon and will be missed loads.”
A police spokeswoman said yesterday that inquiries into the circumstances of the crash were still “ongoing”.
She added: “At around 1.09am this morning, Police Scotland received a report of a serious two-vehicle road traffic collision on the A93 near Aboyne, just west of Kincardine O’ Neil.
“Emergency services attended the collision and the road was closed for approximately eight hours.
“Sadly, as a result of the collision a male driver of a vehicle has died. No further information will be issued until next of kin are fully informed.”
Aboyne councillor Peter Argyle said: “It is a series of corners that road. As always when these things happen my heart goes out to the family of the young man and the others involved.
“I know first-hand how devastating this is. My heart goes out to everybody and the family.
“There have been a few accidents there over the years, but not for a while. Mostly in the winter because it is covered by trees and it tends to be icy.”