Emergency services were scrambled over fears that people were trapped in a submerged car on the Holy Island Causeway yesterday.
But it turned out that the occupants had abandoned the vehicle and were safely in the Ship Hotel on the island.
The police had reported the incident, around 3.25pm, and there was concern that people were still in the vehicle, as the vehicle lights had come on.
Additionally Aberdeen Coastguard had also received a 999 call from someone at the Causeway car park, who thought that three people were in the vehicle.
The Seahouses inshore lifeboat was launched and went to the Causeway by sea, while the rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer was also scrambled.
On arrival, the lifeboat crew found no one in the vehicle, and the lights had operated due to being shorted out by the salt water.
Details of the vehicle were passed to Humber Coastguard, while local Coastguard rescue officers had also been mobilised on Holy Island.
The occupants of the car were eventually traced to the Ship Hotel, where they were spoken to by Coastguard officers.
Seahouses Lifeboat operations manager Ian Clayton said: “While it is unbelievable that people are still getting stranded on the Causeway despite new high-tech signage, it is regrettable that these people today did not notify the authorities about having to abandon their vehicle, which would have avoided today’s rescue alert.”