(Pic: Castletownbere RNLI)

Three men have died and a fourth has been injured after a boat went on fire and sank off the Co Cork coast this evening.

It happened in waters south of Roundcarrig Lighthouse off Adrigole Harbour, Bantry Bay.

It is understood a serious fire broke out on the 25-ft (8m) cruiser.

The RNLI lifeboat went to the cruiser's rescue at around 5.45pm.

The Coast Guard helicopter, which was in the area on another rescue mission, spotted the men in the water. The boat was on fire and sinking as they arrived.

The bodies of the three victims have been removed to hospital.

It is understood all four men, who were in their 60s, were living in the Glengarriff area.

One of the victims is Irish and the other two men are from other European countries.

A fourth man, who survived the incident, has also been taken to hospital.

A spokeswoman for Bantry General Hospital said the man is in a stable condition.

He is understood to be a US citizen, originally from Connecticut.

Both the gardaí at Bantry and the Marine Casualty Investigation Board have begun separate investigations into the cause of the incident.