RESCUE teams had to be called out for the second time in a month after a family became trapped in their car on Holy Island causeway.
The family tried to get across on Saturday afternoon, more than an hour after the safe crossing times.Related content
With the rising tide, the car soon became stuck and the distressed family had to call 999.
Three other cars tried to follow, but on seeing the first car struggle, they were able to reverse out of the water and head back to Holy Island.
The Humber Coastguard contacted the Holy Island Coastguard, which sent a rescue team. The family were then able to make their way back to dry land escorted by the coastguard.
Signs alerting motorists to the safe crossing times are displayed at both ends of the causeway.
Ryan Douglas, station manager for Holy Island coastguard, said: “We got the call at 2.14pm. The family of four – mum, dad and two children – were trapped in their two-month-old Audi estate and the water had reached door level.
“There were four families travelling together, but fortunately the other three cars were able to make their way back to the island.
“People who try to cross after the safe crossing times are risking their lives. In this case, it was a straightforward rescue, but the car is probably a write-off.”
Over the weekend, members of the public criticised the driver on the HI Coastguard’s Facebook page for trying to cross without apparently taking heed of the signs.
One post read: “I would put a huge electronic barrier up which comes down at both ends when the tide is past the crossing time. Morons are endangering our (rescue) teams not just themselves.”
Another said: “Even if they don’t see the signs, do they not see the sea? I saw from my kitchen window today, the tide was very much in when they tried to cross... there is no excuse.”
Many other posts were full of praise for the efforts of the rescue team, including: “Another successful rescue by the coastguard service. Well done guys.” This is the second time this month the HI Coastguard has been called out to a trapped car on the causeway.
On May 3, a couple became marooned in their blue Vauxhall Astra. They later admitted failing to consult the safe crossing times.
That rescue was the first of 2012 and the first since Northumberland County Council carried out a two-week trial of electronic message signs which told drivers to check the tide times over Easter.
The aim is now to install more complex and variable message signs during the summer months to advise motorists of tide times and when the causeway is closed to traffic.