Weather Makes Search for Missing Hiker Difficult


Her station wagon was still in the parking lot, but there was no sign of the 77-year-old woman from Nicasio. Search and rescue teams from four counties started early Monday morning. They were transported from an incident command center to the north beach, where Lang's car and dogs were found Saturday night.

"Our hope is to really thoroughly cover again what was covered last night, which is closer to the parking lot at North Beach, and then it's been quite a ways from there," said searcher Mike St. John.

About 60 people combed through thick vegetation, battling the rain and high winds. Search dogs from the California Search Dog Association were also brought in. The rescue teams covered an extensive area of the park.

"Right now, we're doing what's classically called a 'grid search' in search and rescue," explained searcher Mitch Allan. "And, what we try to do is space all of our people such that if somebody's non-responsive, we can see them in between the people out in the field."

Lang is said to know the terrain very well, having volunteered in the area. She disappeared late in the afternoon on Saturday. Local authorities discovered she was missing after another park visitor, Heather Avery, found one of her dogs in the parking lot.

"It took a while to calm it down," Avery recalled. "That's the first thing that kind of got me wondering. It would not calm down. It was so people-hungry at that point."

Park rangers discovered two other dogs inside Lang's car. Search and rescue supervisor Dan Habig says she may have walked down to the beach.

"And, in the past, we have had people swept off on this beach," he said.

Late Monday afternoon, slightly better conditions made it possible for a Coast Guard helicopter to be brought in to search from above. Still, it has been more than 48 hours and reality is beginning to set in.

"Certainly, the inclement weather would be a challenge as far as survivability for anybody that wasn't prepared to be out here last night," St. John said.

The search for Lang was to continue into Monday evening, despite the terrible conditions faced by search crews.

Anyone who may have seen Lang in the Point Reyes area is asked to call the Marin County Sheriff's Office at (415) 479-2311.

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