Couple spend four hours in refuge box after car stranded on Holy Island causeway

A couple spent more than four hours in the refuge box on Holy Island causeway in biting winds after their car was cut off by the tide.

Saturday, 17th March 2018, 10:54 am
Updated Saturday, 17th March 2018, 11:23 am
How the causeway becomes submerged at high tide. The white refuge box on stilts can be seen on the left. Picture by HM Coastguard

The pair had tried to cross the causeway in atrocious weather conditions yesterday afternoon (Friday), but were beaten by the rising sea and had to abandon their vehicle and head for the refuge box.

At 1pm, Humber Coastguard received their 999 call reporting that they and their vehicle were stranded on the causeway.

A stock image of Holy Island causeway

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Berwick and Holy Island Coastguard rescue teams arrived at the scene to find the sea breaking over the couple's vehicle, but they and the lifeboat teams from Berwick and Seahouses were unable to reach them in the poor conditions.

So the couple had to wait in the refuge box until the sea had subsided at around 5.40pm. Luckily, the car was not completely submerged and the engine restarted and it was recovered. One of the two trapped people was taken to hospital by ambulance as a precautionary measure, but both were unhurt.

The Coastguard posted on its Facebook page: “Due to the weather conditions and with the wind F7 - 8 (28 - 40knots) SE’ly, the local lifeboats at Berwick and Seahouses were unable to assist safely. The casualties remained in the safety of the refuge box and a communications schedule using the 999 system was set up to ensure their safety. Coastguard officers at Holy Island also kept a visual of the casualties until they safely exited the causeway when it reopened at 17.40.”

There have been many instances of cars being stuck on the causeway over the years and some have been caught on video, including an Uber taxi.

A stock image of Holy Island causeway

Aerial footage has also captured the moment that two drivers ploughed through the sea to cross the causeway, with much of the road already under water.