Story By: Ernest Bio Bogore, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A woman driver has died after being swept away by a tide that came in faster than “a galloping horse” as she drove across a road that ends up underwater at high tide.
Five people in the car were trapped when they crossed the Gois last Monday.
It is a submersible causeway that connects the island of Noirmoutier, a French island in the Bay of Biscay in the western Vendee department, to the mainland.
As the water rose, the four passengers left the vehicle to reach a safety mast they could climb. But the driver, whose name has not been revealed and who is 66 years old, remained in the vehicle and found herself trapped by the rising tide. She was swept away by the water.
Patrice Anglade, the director of roads for the Vendee Departmental Council, says he and the town halls will once again be considering solutions to improve the safety of the Gois.
On the other hand, he said that it was impossible to close the passageway: “Forbidding for who and for what purpose? You have people crossing by car and it will take them five minutes.
“You have people who cross on foot and who it will take an hour to cross, you have people who stop and park there. You also have oyster farmers who work there, who know the tidal conditions very well, and who have to be able to pass over larger ranges. So it’s complicated to close.
“And even with a ban and a closure, we would have to see how it would be enforced. We would need law enforcement and even then, we can see that it’s not enough. On other roads, you always have accidents because people call while driving, for example”.
The Gois pathway is known for its ability to trap passers-by. As these images show, for example, another car was trapped by the rising tide on 13th September, at around 8pm.
As a reminder, signs at the entrance to the passage indicate when it is possible to drive across: an hour and a half before and an hour and a half after low tide.
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