tv NBC Bay Area News at 5 NBC February 22, 2019 5:00pm-5:30pm PST
i understand she was buried up to her waist and had to be rescued. she would have given them an idea of where her friend was. there were lots of people down on the beach when this happened, lots of people walking their dogs. we talked with one person walking their dog who said they were really frantically searching for a little while, and then after about an hour, things changed. >> it looks like they're just doing a recovery situation now. which doesn't feel great to hear. >> reporter: so we have sf fire here with search dogs, we have park police here, sfpd here. sfpd says they were called in to try and keep people with their dogs away from this scene so that the search dogs weren't thrown off a scent. there are people down here who ularvery curious about what's area. but you can see really this effort, this tremendous effort to tryried here in the sandston
are between ft. funston and remote stretch of beach where people like to walk their dogs. no one would expect that the cliff, the hillside, just would collapse. but that's exactly what happened to two women here this afternoon and the search to find one woman who is still buried continues. >> we can see how active that search is behind you. we continue coverage with christie smith. she's also at ft. funsston on the upper side of that cliff. how tall, 20, 30 feet? >> 200 feet i heard, as high as 200 feet. christie, tell us what you're seeing. >> reporter: we are just above from where jean is standing and it's hard to see exactly how far it is. part of the reason is that they're telling us that they believe that there is a possibility this is still unstable. so they're not letting us go out there. you can see three people, i'm
told those are part of the emergency team. they're not letting us go out there for safety reasons. what we have seen, this is where we are, funston beach trail. we have seen some of the rescue crews heading down this way. we've seen some of the people who were at the beach coming up that way. we do have a little bit more information on that woman who was -- who survived. i had a chance to speak with a lieutenant from the san francisco fire department. he's telling me they got this call about a cliff rescue about 2:40 this afternoon, that what they're hearing is that this woman was buried and thankfully she was able to make her way out. but there were actually people on that beach helping her get out of that pile of rubble there on the bottom of the beach. so she was able to make h as we. but we're told nonlive threateniny as well. everyone's attention turns to the woman who is still missing. when we arrived, we were down on
the street and they were really rushing to get up here. we got here pretty quickly. what we saw is that firefighters were actually literally running with shovels. they were parking and running trying to get up here. what i was told is that right now they have two k-9 teams who are helping out with this rescue. they're going to bring in a third, they say, in case the two that they have there get tired so that they have help that they can keep going. firefighters keep bringing in more crews. we're told park police here as well. so this is, of course, something very fluid situation. they are keeping people away. there are still people walking around with their dogs asking questions. they are still here but of course for safety reasons, they are keeping them away from that cliff side there. and that is the latest that we have. at this point what i can tell you, what we see is that there were quite a few fire trucks here, cliff rescue trucks. we see people, you can see this
there. that's what we've seen, people moving very quickly to the beach. but quickly leaving their vehicles here and getting down there where the rescue is. so of course we're going to try to bring you the latest information. we'll check back in with you as soon as we can. >> christie, thank you so much. another look from nbc bay area sky ranger as christie said, a lot of rescuers and two k-9 teams down there right now trying to pinpoint a more exact location of where this woman could be buried. they're going to bring in a third when these two dogs get tired to swap them out. >> dramatic shot. we mentioned how tall, steep that cliff is. upwards two of hundred feet in some areas. again, a very popular area and beach for people to walk their dogs and take hikes. chief meteorologist jeff ranieri, as we watch this unfold, for the last several weeks we've seen mudslides and saturated. is that what you're seeing? >> yeah, this location really was kind of a bull's-eye for some of that heaviest rainfall where we did pick up 8 to 12 inches of rainfall in that last
round of flooding rains across the bay area. so what we're looking at in the video over here, if we could take that full, is potentially anywhere from 100 to 200 tons of dirt from my estimate, just looking at it visually, which could equate to thousands of pounds of weight on top of where this woman is located. again, they're continuing to search. they have the k-9s out there, hoping to pick up on some sort of scent. you have to wonder if they're going to get some sort of sonar equipment, some sort of listening device to maybe find out a little bit more on where this person is located. again, thousands of pounds of weight. they've got to do it by hand with those shovels. it would be nearly impossible to get any kind of machinery in there to try and do that, plus on top of it it would be dangerous barring this person is still hopefully alive. you also have to wonder how many other crews could be getting in. if you've ever dug into sandstone, you know how
extremely difficult it can be even when it's dry. you put all of the water onto it and it's even heavier. it's nearly impossible to just kind of get a good footing and really get in there. you can see them doing it right now, making some progress. again, likely 100 to 200, 300 tons of dirt. at some point their exhaustion is going to set in. they're going to have to bring in more crews. take a look at the low tide and high tide. low tide at 6:51 tonight. so that is good news. they're able to make some progress. you can see right now they're able to get down in some areas that were previously wet. but we've got high tide coming back at 1:33 tomorrowmorning, which would likely bring water right into the areas where they're searching right now. so they've probably got a good four to five-hour window to scour that back and hopefully locate this person. so my guess would be they're likely lining up additional crews to come down here because at some point you're just not
going to be able to dig any more because you just get exhausted. you get tired. i know they're going to be working with their all, but we're looking at thousands of pounds of dirt and weight on top of this person under there. so we definitely hope they make some more progress here coming up soon. >> jeff, from pacifica to half moon bay and ft. funston, so many local beaches that are popular to walk and hike with these exact type of cliff sides here. i'm assuming with all the rain there's going to be dangerous conditions across our coastline? >> yeah, you're just going to add on to that. you get all of this rainfall like we've had in a short amount of time, the hillsides become so extremely heavy. you have any part of that that's jutting out and the weight just wins out. the gravity of it. that's likely what happened in this situation. some sort of weight from those recent rains that then did bring that hill down. the good news in the weather forecast, at least through this evening, even through this
weekend, is we have some dry conditions. we'll get cloud cover moving in the next 24 hours. we're not expecting any rainfall. so that's also good for the rescue crews out there right now. we know -- we've heard in other cases, people have been able to survive for what seems like an extraordinary amount of time when they're buried in some sort of rubble or debris. so that is good news. no rain in the next 24 to 36 hours. but once we hit next monday and tuesday, different situation. they're working against the best conditions they'll see right now. they've got daylight. they are under an approaching low tide at 6:51 tonight. then we have a high tide coming back tomorrow morning at 1:33 a.m. that could likely bring the water, the waves right to where they're digging right now. again, just from my estimate, we're looking at 100 tons, maybe 200 tons, possibly more. hard to say on that angle. but nonetheless, thousandseigh
sitting on top of where this person is located. so again, i'm pretty sure with that hand digging they're doing right now, they're going to have to bring in even more people to continue to help with that manpower. >> yes, an exhausting and frantic search going on right now. thank you, jeff ranieri, for all that information. joining us by phone right now is mindy talmidge, san francisco fire department. we've spoken to you this afternoon. can you give us an update of what the situation is and the approach on trying to find this victim buried in this landslide? >> right, so currently you can see the approach that they're taking is hand digging with shovels. the live rescue animals that we brought in did not indicate a location. so they're just continuing to dig by hand.
we will be getting a cadaver team in in about two hours. but we're keeping hopeful and continuing to search. >> mindy, in your estimation, how long can a person survive underneath this rubble, and at what point do you turn this into a search mission and then to, unfortunately, perhaps a rescue mission? a recovery? >> that's a difficult thing to tell because we really don't know if there's an air pocket underneath or anything like that. but again, like i said, the live search k-9 teams did not make any sort of indication. so, you know, that's not a great sign. but again, wire going to continue to search, so we're continuing. >> when the k-9s don't pick up on anything, could it be she might be buried deeper in this
debris? or it could mean something else? >> you know, i'm not a handler myself. but as i can see that once they back to allow the k-9 teams to do what they normally do and the handlers told me the animals also, you know -- i mean, it's an indicator that they're not able to either pick up a scent or determine whether or not -- or there's not a live body under there. >> last question, we appreciate your time during this search and rescue mission here. just in terms of logistics, how many people? we're seeing from our nbc helicopter, how many people are involved in it looks like more than 30 or 40 people. do we have a description that you can share with us of that woman who's trapped in terms of any health issues or age? >> i do not have any information
on the woman that they're searching for. and we have a team of about approximately 50 firefighters out there with hand tools. >> very good. we appreciate their work. mindy, we'll check back later. we do hope that this crew diligently searching will find this woman that's trapped underneath that rubble. thank you. >> we'll be right back with more news.
back to our live coverage of a rescue going on at ft. funston in san francisco. a hillside gave way, burying two women and a dog. one woman and the dog, they were both rescued. and they managed to get out. another woman has been buried since about 2:40 p.m. so for about two and a half hours. you can see firefighters have been aggressively and frantically digging with shovels and their hands, trying to locate this woman. and unfortunately two k-9 teams have not been able to pinpoint the exact location of the women, so the firefighters are just doing it by hand right now. >> here's some of tnumbers. working on this. you can see by hand, by shovel, and also with the k-9 units there. that first woman who did make it out alive, she was rescued, she was buried up to her waist. so now they're looking for her friend, her partner there that she was walking with that is
somewhere in this rubble. some estimation, the cliff side is about 200 feet high. we're not sure how much dirt and sand and rock fell down. now you're looking at, as jeff ranieri was mentioning, it's becoming high tide now. so these rescuers as the hyde comes in, they're going to have to deal with that. we probably have about 45 minutes of daylight remaining. so a couple of issues for these rescuers to try to find this woman that's trapped here in ft. funston. >> low tide is 6:56 p.m., high tide reaching its peak at 1:30 a.m. saturday early morning. so they have -- they estimate a couple more hours, like you said, daylight is going to be going down. this cliff is still very unstable. we have a crew on the ground. we have the only reporter on the beach. then we also have a crew up above. and christie smith was telling us this hillside is still so unstable, they're not letting anyone near it because they don't know if more of it can
consist guy. ft. funston is popular with walkers and beachgoers and their dogs and families. they're trying to keep everybody away right now because this is a very precarious situation. i know a lot of people have been texting and messaging the fire department wanting to help and offering to dig. they're telling people it's not a safe situation. this hillside still can give way. so they want everybody to just stay away. and the dogs could actually interfere with the k-9 crews working at the scene. >> we're looking at this live unfolding from our nbc bay area sky ranger. let's go to the beach level. the only reporter on scene on the beach level is nbc bay area's jean elle. what are you seeing behind you? what's the update from where you are? >> what we're seeing is still furious digging. it looks like firefighters are starting to take charge. it looks like some of them are resting. others are digging. let's take a look from the ground. you can see there's a dog still on the hillside, still
searching. lots of digging. police are here. there are some -- lots of folks -- not lots but some folks walking down the beach, wanting to take a closer look. a woman did just walk nearly to the scene and had to be escorted away by police officers. so people are coming out and walking their dogs. i think this is dog walking hour and they're curious about what's going on and the advice that the police would really like to get out is to just stay away. they don't want to interfere with the dogs searching for a scent of this woman that's buried under this hillside of sandstone. so if you can see the dog on the top of the hill there, you can kind of get an idea of just how much sandstone fell. it's a very large cliff. it looks like about half the cliff eroded away. i've been talking with regulars here who say they've been eroding away for years. down on the bottom of the beach here there's a big concrete, piece of concrete. that used to be up top of the
cl of how much of this cliff has been eroding. there's probably no indication that that was going to happen as people were walking on the beach, enjoying the day. two women walking a dog. out of nowhere this cliff just collapsed on them. so as we just heard from mindy talmadge, there's 50 firefighters here. they're still hopeful at this time that they're going to locate this woman and they're hopeful that she could be alive. she mentioned there could be an air pocket. the tide seems to be going out. it's going to be low tide later tonight so that's good news for searchers. but again, they're just continuing to dig and police are here doing their best to keep people away from the scene. they're hoping the dogs can help out and let firefighters know where exactly to dig. but this search has been going on for over two hours now. so crews have got to be tired. and they've got to be wondering what the condition of this woman is who's buried under all of the sandstone that collapsed here.
empty stretch of beach that a lot of people like to walk. the cliffs are beautiful but they're saturated and one collapsed today, trapping a woman, and this search continues. >> we hope she has found an air pocket and will survive this ordeal. thank you so much, jean. it's a beautiful day, so this is just so unexpected. you normally hear about landslides during the rain. but this definitely could happen afterwards. let's check in with chief meteorologist jeff ranieri to tell us more about the conditions out there. >> and really the big problem as we've been reporting is how much rainfall we've seen. most recently in that last round of flooding rains, this area had 8 to 12 inches of rainfall, making that hillside extremely heavy. our rainfall averages are about 200% to 400% of normal for the month. so this likely as we've been reporting gave way with little to no warning. and as one person is still
trapped in there, just by looking at our sky ranger there's got to be at least 200 to 400 tons of dirt. we're talking about thousands of pounds of weight. you can see it right there, that area that is a little bit darker down towards the bottom of the screen. thousands of pounds of weight that is on top of potentially the person down below. if you've tried to dig into sandstone, it's nearly impossible when it is dry. you add water to it. it is just that much heavier. you can see the crews have increased since this originally happened. they're likely bringing more crews out there because that hand digging is really the only primary way to safely locate this person underneath. they're going to have to do that in shifts. they've got the dog out there, the k-9 unit looking for some scent. you have to wonder if they're ttnt to hear for anything, if the person under there is able to make any sort of noise of any kind.
they're battling against the weight, currently looking at a low tide at 6:51 tonight. that's good news, but they're racing against high tide at 1:33 tomorrow morning which could bring water early. tomorrow morning, 1:33 a.m., to where those crews are searching. i do want to let you know here that as we head through this weekend, we do have dry weather coming our way on saturday, also on sunday. then we get wet weather by monday, tuesday, wednesday. we know people have been able to survive an extraordinary amount of time in situations like this. good news, the next 48 hours we do have dry weather coming our way for those crews. we've got more on this forecast at nbcbayarea.com if you want to take a closer look. >> we'll go back to our nbc helicopter. again there at ft. funston frantically trying to find this woman who is buried underneath
we're going to continue with breaking news. if you're just joining us, we've been following the story for the last couple of hours. a woman is trapped underneath the rubble there after this hillside, this cliff side, has collapsed. this is in ft. funston right along the beach there, a popular spot for their dogs, hang gliders there. about 50 firefighters and search and rescue are trying to find a woman trapped there.
i want to get back to our breaking news. our nbc bay area sky ranger live overhead in ft. funston in san francisco along the coast there. this active search and rescue with 50 firefighters continues. here's some updates. the search has stopped for now. we're going to get some answers in the next few minutes. two women were walking, one has been rescued, one remains buried underneath the rubble here when that cliff side started to collapse. >> they were walking with their dog. the dog also managed to get out. the one woman who did escape, she was buried to her waist and they had to dig her out. firefighters now, as you can see, regrouping. about 50 of them have been digging since 2:40 frantically trying to find this one victim. sky ranger's going to stay on the scene. we have the only reporter on the
beach. we'll have a live report tonight at 6:00. breaking news and to the -- shockwaves as the billionaire owner of the new england patriots robert kraft is charged in a day spra prostitution sting. tonight the video surveillance operation that caught the architect of an nfl dynasty and powerful friend of the president. we have reaction from south florida to boston. also breaking, prosecutors charging singer r. kelly of sexually abusing underage girls for more than a decade. one of kelly's alleged victims in the speaks to nbc news. new fallout in the jussie smollett saga. and we take a loser look at the technology please say they used to unravel the story. there is late word in the mueller investigation, the looming mueller report. richard engel i