Four people were rescued this morning as the yacht they were travelling on sank around 80km off the Co Wexford coast.

The yacht had been travelling from Dublin to Vigo in Spain and had left Kilmore Quay yesterday afternoon.

A volunteer crew from Kilmore Quay RNLI were alerted about the damaged yacht at around 2.44am this morning and were called to assess the situation.

The five-person team arrived at the scene at around 5.30am, when they used salvage pumps to attempt to save the vessel, with assistance of Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 117.

However, the yacht was too damaged and the four people on board were safely taken back to Kilmore Quay on the RNLI lifeboat, leaving the yacht to sink. They arrived safely back to shore at around 11am.

Speaking following the call out, Kilmore Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager John Grace said the crew on board made the right decision to alert authorities.

"It is always sad when a vessel is lost at sea but thankfully the crew onboard the yacht was safely rescued and they are now back on shore," he said.

"The casualties did the right thing in raising the alarm when they encountered problems in the early hours of this morning which helped to prevent the situation from becoming much worse.

"Despite the best efforts of everyone on scene, the vessel took on a lot of water. Our priority then was to ensure that the casualties were taken off the yacht and transferred safely on to the lifeboat."

The Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboat crew involved in the call out were Coxswain Eugene Kehoe, mechanic Philip Walsh and crew members Aidan Bates, Sean Furlong and Nigel Kehoe.

Mr Grace paid tribute to the crew, who, he said, "despite the early call and darkness of night, did not hesitate to respond".