Seal of approval leaves island visitors cut off

St Mary's Island'St Mary's Lighthouse.
St Mary's Island'St Mary's Lighthouse.

VISITORS enjoying a trip to St Mary’s Island on Saturday had to be rescued after being distracted by a seal and failing to notice the tide coming in.

A group of 15 people from Hexham, Gateshead, Fleetwood and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire found themselves stranded after the causeway was left under water.

A Cullercoats RNLI lifeboat crew and members of Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade were called out just before 4pm after four members of the group waded ashore to summon help.

The group were then taken by lifeboat back to Cullercoats and told to check the tide tables in future.

Volunteer life brigade captain Peter Lilley said: “The 11 were all very apologetic for causing the call-out and very grateful to the rescue teams.

“They blamed the fact they had not noticed the tide coming in on a playful seal entertaining them on the east side of the island which led them to lose track of time.”

Frank Taylor, operations manager Cullercoats Station, said: “The causeway is sometimes not visible from that point.

“It is important that anyone visiting the island is aware of the tide times and to be attentive to the changing water levels.

“Thanks to the Cullercoats volunteer crew the group were returned safely with no injuries.”