San Francisco, CA, United States (4E) – A 72-year-old San Francisco man has been found and rescued in a northern California forest, where he got lost on Sept. 24 while hunting deer with a friend.
Gene Penaflor was recovering at the Ukiah Valley Medical Center Sunday, a day after hunters found and pulled him up from a canyon in the Mendocino National Forest. A search and rescue party looking for him since he went missing then transported him to the hospital by helicopter.
Penaflor told his family at his hospital bed that he ate frogs, squirrels, lizards and berries to survive. He also slept under a log and covered himself with grass and leaves to stay warm.
Penaflor got separated from his hunting buddy after wandering from the road. He was knocked unconscious after slipping on a steep slope and woke up disoriented.
He had a hunting rifle but was too weak to kill a deer for food, so he settled for small game and drank water from a creek.
His hunting buddy reported him missing to the Mendocino County sheriff on the day they got separated. A search and rescue team was organized. The team looked for him with the help of rescue dogs and a helicopter for four days but did not find Penaflor. A storm suspended the search until Saturday.
A group of hunters heard Penaflor’s shout for help in the Yuki Wilderness and reported it to the search and rescue team. The hunters carried Penaflor up the hillside using a makeshift stretcher before the rescue party airlifted him to the hospital.