Search and rescue authorities combed Bodega Head with flashlights for an hour in the cold, dark and wind Friday night, desperately looking for what was reported to be a woman screaming from the rocks below.
But the cries, it turns out, were being made by a seal pup.
“This one kind of did (sound like a human), with the wind blowing,” said Jason Downing, acting captain of the Bodega Bay Fire Department.
The search began when a woman called 911 about 7:30 p.m. to report what she believed were a woman’s screams coming from the rocks beneath the cliffs.
The hourlong search included a U.S. Coast Guard boat, the Sheriff’s Office helicopter Henry 1, members of the Bodega Bay Fire Department, Bodega Fire Department, Occidental Fire Department, Monte Rio Fire Department and state and county parks workers, Downing said.
In all, about 30 people searched the cliffs for the source of the cries, but it took a parks worker to notice the seal pup just below the northern end of the parking lot atop Bodega Head.
Asked about how often mix-ups like this trigger search operations, Downing laughed.
“It’s pretty rare,” he said.
You can reach Staff Writer Christi Warren at 707-521-5205. On Twitter @SeaWarren. or firstname.lastname@example.org.