Swimmers recover body from cliff base

After being held off by treacherous conditions for three days, San Mateo County rescue swimmers were finally able to recover a body in the surf near Montara on Sunday afternoon.

The identity of the body had not been determined as of Sunday evening, and a Coroner’s Office deputy said investigators had not determined whether the person was a man or a woman. An autopsy will be performed as early as today, he said.

A hiker at Devil’s Slide made the grisly discovery at 1:10 p.m. Thursday in a narrow inlet at the base of a cliff north of Montara State Beach, according to San Mateo County sheriff’s Lt. Lisa Williams.

However, the surf was too high and the conditions were too dangerous to risk the safety of rescuers,Williams said. After waiting for the right weather, tidal and surf conditions throughout the weekend, authorities began their recovery operation at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

Rescue swimmers from the Pillar Point Harbor Master’s Office, California State Parks and the Sheriff’s Office navigated the water around the cliffs in personal watercraft. At 12:30 p.m. — after several hours of battling the pounding surf — the body was recovered and taken to Pillar Point Harbor, Williams said. It was later transported to the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office.

Pillar Point Harbor Master Dan Temko led the recovery efforts, according to Williams.

In earlier reports, authorities speculated that the body could be that of a man who was reported missing two weeks ago and whose car was found one-fourth of a mile north of where the body was discovered.

Wire services contributed to this report.

tbarak@examiner.com

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