THESE are the dramatic pictures of the latest incident in which foolish motorists have tried to cross a Northumberland causeway while it is under water.
This picture, captured by the crew of the Seahouses RNLI lifeboat, show a car hired by Australian tourists stuck in three feet of water on the Holy Island causeway.
The incident was the eighth this year where lifeboats have had to rescue motorists stuck in water on the causeway and has led to exasperation from lifeboat crews.
Ian Clayton, Seahouses RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “This latest incident, the eighth we have been called to this year, leaves me at a complete loss for words.
“I am seriously concerned that motorists seem to continue to be oblivious about the dangers of driving their cars into the North Sea, apparently completely either disregarding or ignoring all of the safety warning signs.
“If people get into trouble, it is the RNLI and other agencies who have to come to their aid. That is what we do. It is not our role to criticise or pass judgement, that is a matter for the Police and HM Coastguard.”
The couple tried to cross at around 3pm, despite the last safe time being 1.40pm. Their car became stuck in the rising water and the panicked couple collected their belongings, abandoned it and waded to the causeway’s refuge box, raising the alarm.
HM Humber Coastguard requested Seahouses RNLI send its inshore lifeboat at 3.06pm.
The boat launched, arriving at the causeway at 3.38pm, and rescued the couple from the box.
They were ferried to the mainland into the care of Coastguard Rescue Officers from Seahouses, before the lifeboat returned for their possessions.
The car is expected to be written off and was later recovered by contractors after the tide receded.
Partners including the RNLI, the coastguard, Northumbria Police and Northumberland County Council have been in talks over the possibility of utilising a webcam to eliminate unnecessary journeys for emergency services to the causeway when motorists get stuck in future.
The bodies have been in talks over securing funding to link the causeway side camera to a website which the Humber coastguard could view and assess which if any of lifeboats and an RAF helicopter need to be sent for a rescue.
The coastguard would be able to control the camera and use its pan and zoom features.
My Clayton said: “The webcam would help. It is very difficult because the coastguard are some 100 miles down the coast, it is very difficult for them to get a handle on what is going on whereas if they had a webcam it would be clearly visible hopefully and they can allocate the necessary resources.
“We will see where it goes.”
If people get into trouble, it is the RNLI and other agencies who have to come to their aid. It is not our role to criticise or pass judgement