Missing 72-year-old man found alive

October 14, 2013

A 72-year-old hunter missing in the Mendocino National Forest for 18 days was found alive on Saturday.

Gene Penaflor

Gene Penaflor

After separating from a hunting buddy, Gene Penaflor of San Francisco fell and hit his head. He awoke hours later in a canyon. [DailyNews]

Penaflor stayed where he was, near a creek, and survived on a diet of lizards, squirrels, berries and snake. To protect himself from freezing temperatures and snow flurries, he built a fire, covered himself in leaves and burrowed into a log.

Mendocino County Search and Rescue began searching for Penaflor on Sept. 2, but called the search off on Sept. 28.

On Saturday, a group of hunters heard his cries for help, assembled a makeshift stretcher using their coats and poles, and carried Penaflor to the top of a hill where a helicopter was able to safely lift him to safety.

Penaflor was treated at a medical center and released.


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He did exactly what one is supposed to do to survive (temporarily) in the given conditions. I’ve had to do the “bury yourself in leaves” bit before, and it’s not fun (lots of creepy crawlies) and snake isn’t so bad (at least the ones I’ve had).

Never had lizard (I love them too much); and I don’t know if I’d eat squirrel – I guess if I *had* to. Still, KUDOS to this guy and his survival skills.

Who put a thumbs down……now that’s true dislike. lol

Great story. Years ago when I lived in the Sierras a 78 year old woman lost control of her car and ended up in a ditch in the middle of winter. She survived over a week on snow water and some candy bars in the glove box, and used the car’s carpet for a blanket, before she was found. These stories are very inspiring.

I remember that story! That was pretty amazing.

Welcome home safe and sound.