MORE tourists have sparked a rescue operation by trying to drive across a Northumberland causeway when it was under water.
A couple in their forties who were on holiday at Seahouses tried to cross the causeway at Holy Island more than an hour and a half outside of the safe times on Thursday.
The duo tried to cross from the island end at around 1.20pm despite the last safe time – displayed at either end of the causeway – being 11.55am.
They reached its bridge, where they abandoned the journey.
An ice cream seller on the mainland saw the stranded car and rang the police, which sent a patrol car to assess the situation.
Officers contacted coastguards at Holy Island and Seahouses, who drove across the causeway in a 4x4 before taking the couple back to the island.
Station officer at Holy Island Ryan Douglas said the couple did not realise it was a tidal island and had not checked the tide times. He said they had opted to “drive into the North Sea”, estimating they had travelled through water two to three feet deep.
Mr Douglas said they had been “extremely” lucky their car was not a write-off, claiming its engine would have failed if they had had to drive another 10 feet through water.
The official added: “The coastguard would urge people to check tide times when visiting any part of the coast.
“If you do find yourself or see any one in trouble please dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”
The incident was the eleventh time this year the Holy Island team has been called to causeway episodes.
This compares favourably to last year when by mid September they had been to around 20.
Northumberland County Council has recently taken delivery of variable message signs which it is to erect at either end of the causeway “within the next couple of weeks”, to urge drivers to check the tide times.
Mr Douglas said: “I hope they work because it is starting to become more frequent now.”