Holy Island crossing signs may go multi-lingual
Aug 8 2008 by Sam Wood, The Journal
FOREIGN language signs may be put up on a Northumberland causeway to stop holidaymakers being caught out by rising tides.
The county council is considering putting up the warnings on the Holy Island crossing after two Spanish tourists, who did not speak English, became stuck on Tuesday. The pair attempted to drive across the causeway more than an hour after the last safe crossing time.
They had to abandon their vehicle as water rose around it and made their way to a refuge box. The pair were rescued by Seahouses lifeboat.
The incident follows numerous callouts for the lifeboat crew and local coastguards to people stuck on the crossing over the years.
Motorists continue to cross the causeway outside safe times, despite the presence of various warning measures including signs which feature images of stranded vehicles.
Seahouses lifeboat crew’s operations manager Ian Clayton last night welcomed the prospect of signs in foreign languages, saying Tuesday’s incident was not the first time non-English speakers have become trapped.
He said: “I think it would be a sensible idea because we have had one or two foreign nationals that have been caught on there. Anything that would try to reduce the incidents would be a good idea.
“Hopefully it might prevent such an incident happening in the future. Whether it does or not is another matter. You can virtually set your watch by it.
“It is all so unnecessary if people use a bit of sense. It is different with foreign nationals, they do not understand English. People think they are driving across a ford in a stream.” A county council spokesman said: “We have recently installed a turning area on the island side of the causeway to allow drivers to turn back when the causeway ahead is covered with water.
“We have also put up photo montages that show how dangerous it is to attempt to cross the causeway outside of safe crossing times.
“These visual images are intended to be universally understood and do not rely on a specific language to get the message across.
“In the light of recent events we may have to consider the need for signs in other languages to be placed in the vicinity of the causeway.
“We continue to urge visitors to Holy Island to ensure they are aware of safe crossing times and that they do not put themselves in danger by attempting to cross outside these times.”
These visual images are intended to be universally understood and do not rely on specific languages