Helicopter rescues woman swept out to sea in Marin Headlands

MARIN HEADLANDS (BCN) — A California Highway Patrol helicopter team rescued a woman who was swept out to sea at Tennessee Cove in the Marin Headlands on Monday afternoon, CHP officials said.

Southern Marin Fire Protection District and National Park Service officials called the CHP aircraft unit in Napa to respond to a cliff rescue around 1:15 p.m.

A woman in her 20s who was walking on Tennessee Beach was swept into the ocean, CHP Officer and helicopter pilot James Andrews said.

The woman spent 30 minutes in 52-degree water before she made it to the base of a cliff and climbed onto a rock, Andrews said.

Waves were pounding at the base of the cliff and a National Park Service lifeguard swam to the woman and placed her in a life jacket, according to Andrews.

Mike McAuley, pilot of the H-32 helicopter, flew in high and gusty winds next to the cliff and above the woman, with the blades of the helicopter 10 to 15 feet away from the sheer cliff wall, Andrews said.

Flight Officer and paramedic Shaun Bouyea lowered Flight Officer and paramedic Ben Schmidt in a hoist 75 feet down to the woman below and placed her in a harness, Andrews said.

The woman and Schmidt were flown to Tennessee Cove, where the woman was evaluated by Southern Marin Fire Protection District crews. The woman appeared extremely cold and tired but was not injured, Andrews said.

The helicopter crew also flew the National Park Service lifeguard and park service rangers to safety.

A high surf and wind warning had been issued at 8 a.m. Monday, Andrews said.

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