The two people who died after a boat capsized off the coast of Malin Head in Co Donegal have been named as Gerry Doherty and 16-year-old Thomas Weir.

Mr Doherty was originally from Malin, but had been living in Burt, Co Donegal, while Thomas was from Scotland but who had been living in Derry in recent months.

Local people said Mr Doherty, who was known as Gerry 'Malin' Doherty always remained connected to the area and tragically his father also died in a drowning accident in the area about 40 years ago, when he was crabbing. 

A third man who was on board the vessel was discharged from hospital this morning. He also lived in Derry.

It is understood there are family connections between the three.

The RNLI has said that they were in the water for more than three hours before the alarm was raised.

The boat has been recovered from the sea and put in storage by gardaí who are carrying out an investigation.

A second investigation will be carried out by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, a press officer for Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat said that the three people set off on their fishing vessel at around 9am yesterday morning and got into difficulty at around midday.

Joe Joyce said: "We're not sure of what happened but it resulted in their boat becoming swamped with water and it subsequently capsized and the three on board ended up in the water.

"They were in the water for a considerable amount of time, about three-and-a-half to four hours before the alarm was raised."

Mr Joyce said that people who lived in holiday homes above the pier heard shouts coming from the water.

Contact was then made with the coastguard, which has a base at the Marine Rescue Centre near the scene of the incident.

Two lifeboats from Buncrana, a coastguard vessel from Greencastle and the coastguard helicopter Rescue 118 were dispatched to the scene.

A mayday request was put out asking for all fishing boats at sea in the Malin Head area to assist in the rescue operation.

The R118 helicopter airlifted the 16-year-old to Altnagelvin Area Hospital in Derry where he later died.

Mr Joyce said that when the teenager was airlifted, rescuers discovered that there were three people involved in the tragedy. A search then began at sea.

He said that the capsized boat was located and a debris trail followed.

The services involved in the rescue operation searched the area for about an hour-and-a-half before some people on the shore discovered a man on a rocky outcrop just under Banba's Crown.

The man was stretchered back to the road, where he was pronounced dead by a local doctor.

When asked why the people were in the water so long before any alarm was raised, Mr Joyce said he thought that when the boat was swamped they lost all means of communicating with the shore.

He also said that that particular side of Malin Head is quiet with not a lot of water traffic around.

Meanwhile, the Lifeboat Operations Manager at Lough Swilly RNLI said it was not known what caused the boat to capsize.

Speaking to RTÉ News, John McCarter said it was possible that an engine broke down and that it was easy for a drifting boat to be overwhelmed.