A woman was rescued from a landslide at Fort Funston Friday afternoon and crews searching for a second victim, declared it a recovery operation Friday evening after searching several hours in vain, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.
Fire officials announced around 3 p.m. that the woman who was found had injuries not considered life-threatening. She was checked out by medics at the scene.
Firefighters continued frantically digging, searching for the second victim. Shortly after 4 p.m. officials stopped digging and brought in a search and rescue dog. They continued the search into the evening, but as the hours passed, they said they did not expect that the missing person could have survived that amount of time buried.
“We’ve decided to move this from a rescue operation to a recovery,” San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Jonathan Baxter said at the scene Friday evening.
A Search and rescue dog searches for a missing woman after a cliff collapsed at Fort Funston on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Rescuers had “exhausted” the tools available, he said, including search dogs, metal detectors and cellphones. “It’s not in our DNA to give up,” Baxter said of the rescuers who were called off of the search after the facts pointed to a recovery effort.
The person was reportedly “a good distance” from the water when the partial landslide occurred, and therefore rescuers have focused the search on land. Fort Funston is part of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
Witnesses said they saw two women climbing up the 80-foot cliff with a dog around 2:30 p.m. Baxter said witnesses told fire officials that the women were about halfway up when the cliff started caving in on top of them. An estimated four or five tons of dirt fell onto the beach.
Bystanders pulled out the first victim and began frantically digging for the other. Firefighters were called around 2:40 p.m. and took over the digging.
The dog was uninjured.
And #022319CR1 UPDATE WE HAVE ONE VICTIM TRAPPED UNDER THIS SLIDE, Search K9 Teams from @SFFDPio @SSFFire pic.twitter.com/ZmP4LJA4xF
— SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT (@SFFDPIO) February 23, 2019