An investigation has been launched into the flooding chaos which struck at a North Wales beach car park.
Families enjoying a day at Talacre returned to their cars to find them stranded in sea water on Sunday (May 8).
A sign that read 'sorry beach closed for vehicles due to high tide' was on a gate which was left open.
Access to the beach is controlled by energy company ENI, who operate the Point of Ayr gas terminal.
In pictures: Cars swallowed by the tide in Talacre
Today (May 10), a spokeswoman said: “ENI Liverpool Bay operating company limited (ELBOC) is aware of the incident which occurred on Talacre beach car park on Sunday, May 8.
“Our security personnel have confirmed that the beach barrier was locked on Saturday evening preventing access for vehicles, as is normal practice for a high tide event.
“ELBOC gave no instruction or permission for it to be left unlocked subsequently.
“We are currently investigating how the gate came to be unlocked by Sunday morning.
Related story: Eyewitness describes Talacre beach panic
“Signage at the barrier warns to the risk of flooding at high tide.”
Flintshire Council is also investigating the incident which saw 25 vehicles cut off.
Among them was David Powell’s black Mercedes, which was written off as a result.
The 31-year-old from Wrexham said: “There was nothing I could do about it but watch.
“The coastguards were stopping people going near the cars because it was too dangerous. I was gutted. I couldn’t believe it.
“I usually park my car there unless the gate is locked at times of high tide.
“It wasn’t closed on this occasion and people were saying the gate had been left open by mistake.
“It’s pretty annoying to think that it could all be because a gate was left open when it shouldn’t have been.”
Related story: Cars submerged in the sea at Talacre
Some of the vehicles were able to be restarted but others were too submerged.
St Asaph recovery firm LNS helped tow the stricken vehicles.
Owner Leigh Bowden said: “We moved a horse box with water in the cab, a Mercedes car with water up to the dash board, a Vauxhall Zafira with water over the seats and a Mercedes minibus which was swamped.”
An eyewitness praised an unknown rescuer who turned up in a blue Land Rover, changed into a red and black dry suit and started recovering cars.
“He managed to get seven or eight cars going again by revving the water out of the engines,” the witness said.
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Talacre has been suffering a parking crisis for years.
Its existing beach car park provides 250 spaces but its use is dependent on high tides.
Steve Jones from Flintshire Council said: “There are a series of gates which provide additional security to prevent people gaining access to the protected dune areas and to prevent night time parking, which are opened to allow access for the council’s cleansing teams in order for them to cleanse the beach area.
“Investigations are continuing into the reasons why some of the gates were open on Sunday.”
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