Rescue workers switched from search to recovery mode Friday night in their efforts to find a woman believed to be buried by a cliff collapse near a San Francisco beach.
One woman was rescued after the landslide above a beach popular with dog walkers. Dozens of search-and-rescue workers had been frantically sifting through the sand by hand and with shovels, but they opted to stop more than three hours after the collapse was first reported, San Francisco Fire Lt. Jon Baxter said.
The two women were walking with a dog Friday afternoon on the cliff above Fort Funston beach, Baxter said. Witnesses said the two women each had a hand extended to touch the cliff when it gave way and they were swept to the beach in the landslide, Baxter said.
Fort Funston, set above steep sandstone cliffs, is a protected area within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which says the cliff is about 200 feet above the San Francisco beach.
The former military installation and the beach below are popular off-leash areas for dog walkers.
Baxter said bystanders pulled one woman and the dog from the landslide and were furiously digging for the buried woman when rescue workers arrived. The rescued woman was taken to a hospital with injuries that aren’t life-threatening, Baxter said.
Rescue workers were also pinging the woman’s mobile phone, and a metal detector was on the way to the scene, Baxter said. Two dogs specially trained to find trapped people still alive were running up and down the slide.
Cadaver dogs trained to find human remains were also at the scene, which is about 10 miles south of the Golden Gate Bridge, he said.