'You can't outrun the sea' warning after second Holy Island causeway rescue in two days

Rescuers from HM Coastguard and the RNLI were called out to the Holy Island Causeway for the second day in succession on Friday
Rescuers from HM Coastguard and the RNLI were called out to the Holy Island Causeway for the second day in succession on Friday -Credit:Berwick Coastguard

Rescuers were required to come to the aid of people stranded on the Holy Island causeway for the second day in a row on Friday.

The teams at Berwick and Holy Island Coastguard stations and the Seahouses and Berwick RNLI were called into action on Friday afternoon at around 4.15pm - along with the Coastguard helicopter - and needed to save two people and a dog who were stuck on the roof of their car, which was stranded by the tide on the causeway.

This was the second day in succession that people had been caught out by the tide - with the Holy Island coastguard saying it had faced four "causeway jobs" since Tuesday. The coastguard has warned members of the public not to imagine they can possible "outrun the sea" and to under no circumstances attempt to cross the causeway when there is water on the road.

The people stranded were unharmed, the rescue services said. On Friday it had been unsafe to cross since 2.50pm, and the coastguard and lifeboat teams all highlighted that it was essential to check tide times before visiting Holy Island, and to heed the electronic boards on approach to the causeway - and which are also available in the nearby area.

In a post online, the Berwick Coastguard said: "Berwick Coastguard was tasked alongside HM Coastguard Holy Island, Seahouses Lifeboat Station, RNLI Berwick upon Tweed Lifeboats and a Coastguard Rescue Helicopter to an incident on Holy Island Causeway, for the second day running.

"Two persons and their dog were cut off by the tide, by the time we arrived on scene all casualties were on the roof of their partially submerged car. The officer in charge deployed Coastguard Rescue Officers into the water with our Res-Q Sled, as per the previous day.

"The casualties were rescued by the [Inshore Lifeboat] from Seahouses Lifeboat Station and transferred into the Res-Q sled and brought ashore to be checked over by Coastguards."

The Coastguard added: "If in doubt, and especially if the water has reached the causeway, do not attempt to cross. You cannot outrun the North Sea! If you see anyone in danger on our cliffs, coastline or on the water, ALWAYS dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard."

Holy Island Coastguard also released the following statement: "At the beginning of this week Holy Island Coastguard Rescue Officers were celebrating that it had been 8 months since the last causeway rescue, we thought the message was starting to get through.

"Since Tuesday, we have had 4 causeway jobs in 3 days. If you are planning to visit Holy Island, please check the tide times. These are available online, on big electronic boards as you arrive to the island, on numerous notice boards around the island & available in most businesses on the island.

"Even more importantly, if you find yourself on the causeway & water is on the road, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS, turn around, head back in to the village [and] keep safe."

Seahouses RNLI also released a statement. That said: "At 4:14pm on Friday 10 May 2024, UK Coastguard requested the launch of Seahouses Inshore Lifeboat, to a report of a car with two persons with a dog, cut off by the tide on Holy Island Causeway. A female with the dog were standing on the car roof, and a male was standing in the water beside the vehicle. This was the second call in two days to similar incidents on the Causeway.

"Seahouses Inshore Lifeboat launched and made best speed to the Causeway. Meanwhile local Coastguard Rescue Teams Berwick Lifeboat and a Rescue helicopter from Prestwick were also tasked. On arrival of the Seahouses lifeboat, the male had joined the female on the car roof.

"The casualties and their dog were taken aboard the lifeboat and landed safely on the mainland side, into the care of the Berwick Coastguard Rescue Team. Neither required any medical assistance. The lifeboat then returned to station, and Berwick Lifeboat and the Rescue Helicopter were cancelled and returned to respective stations."

Seahouses RNLI volunteer press officer Ian Clayton said: "Unfortunately, another avoidable incident, which will probably result in the car being written off. Visitors to Holy Island must heed the safe crossing information, and on this occasion the casualties ended up safe and well, but it could have ended differently. These will not be the memories they were perhaps hoping to have about their visit."