SAN MATEO (CBS SF) – A Los Altos woman who disappeared while windsurfing near Coyote Point Monday evening spent the night in the water before she was found just north of the San Mateo bridge Tuesday morning.

The Coast Guard spent 10 hours searching for 62-year-old Cathy Caton. The expert windsurfer was found at dawn Tuesday. A helicopter lowered a rescue swimmer to the water just north of the San Mateo Bridge near the center span to pull Caton out.

Despite her 20 years of experience windsurfing, Caton’s husband worried she may have been weakened by recent chemotherapy treatment. She set out from the shores along East Third Avenue in Foster City with plans to be on the water for just 30 minutes.

The Coast Guard was notified that Caton was missing at 7:20 p.m., nearly two hours after the time she had told her husband she planned to return.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

Boats and helicopters scanned the waters off Coyote Point overnight.

Finally, a rescue swimmer was lowered into the waters close to the center span just north of the San Mateo Bridge just after 6 a.m. Caton appeared to be doing OK, but was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

Authorities said Caton’s dark wet suit made it difficult to be spotted.

“She did have some good safety gear with her. She did have a VHF radio, but we weren’t able to get communication with her,” said Coast Guard Lt. Heather Lampert.

The Coast Guard also recommended windsurfers wear life vests with reflective tape and carry distress flairs. Lampert said the shallow depth of the relatively warm 70 degree water gave Caton favorable conditions to survive until daybreak.

The Alameda County Fire Department and the San Francisco Fire Department Airport Division also assisted in the search efforts.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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