Missing windsurfer found alive near San Mateo Bridge

11th Coast Guard District NewsSAN FRANCISCO – The Coast Guard rescued Cathy Caton, a 62-year-old woman in San Francisco Bay near the San Mateo Bridge today. Several agencies had joined the Coast Guard yesterday in search of Caton.

She spent 13 hours in the water following a windsurfing mishap. A video of Caton’s rescue is posted here.

The Coast Guard was notified of the missing woman at approximately 7:20 p.m. yesterday. Caton left for a planned half-hour windsurfing outing in the Bay at about 5 p.m. Monday evening. When she hadn’t returned by 7 p.m., her concerned husband called the Coast Guard. Caton is an experienced windsurfer and was wearing the proper safety gear which helped her survive overnight.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco found Caton near the north span of the San Mateo Bridge after searching overnight. The search pattern (below) encompassed more than 82 square miles within San Francisco Bay from initial notifiation yesterday until she was found at 6 a.m. today.

This successful rescue raises the importance of using proper water safety gear while outdoors. Wearing a wet suit, helmet and life jacket was key to Caton’s survival. Additionally, the Coast Guard stresses the importance of a float plan: letting someone on shore know of locations, times and estimations in case of real and suspected emergency situations.

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