Gene Penaflor has been found after 19 days surviving with his intelligence, strength, and knowledge using his resources wisely deep in the woods of Mendocino National forest. He was first spotted by a hunting crew (names will be disclosed later). We are grateful to the hunters who saved his life who then worked with the Search and Rescue team that were there to resume the search on that same day. God was on Gene's side that day. It definitely was in God's hands and in Gene's hands. We are very thankful for all of your support and prayers. This is a miracle.-by Deborah Penaflor
NORTH COAST, Calif. – Eighteen days after he was reported missing in the Mendocino National Forest, a Bay Area hunter has been found alive.
Gene Penaflor, 72, was found on Saturday morning by two hunters on the Mendocino County side of the forest, about two and a half miles from where he had last been seen in the Spruce Grove area north Lake Pillsbury on Sept. 24, according to Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman.
Allman said the two hunters found Penaflor at the bottom of a ravine. They made a stretcher out of their jackets and poles and carried him up the hill.
About the same time, search teams were arriving in the area to make a weekend-long effort to find him, and the hunters notified them that they had found Penaflor, said Allman.
Penaflor's family said he was an experienced outdoorsman who had hunted in the area for the last seven years. He had last been seen by his hunting partner on the morning of Sept. 24 as he set out to hunt deer.
He never showed up for lunch and did not give an agreed-upon distress signal, his family said.
The following day, a search involving nearly a dozen regional search and rescue and law enforcement agencies – including Mendocino, Lake, Napa, Glenn and Sonoma, among others – as well as a helicopter and search dogs, was launched, but had to be suspended on Sept. 29 due to weather concerns, officials reported.
Allman said a number of search teams came in on Friday for a briefing in order to prepare to continue the search this weekend, at which point they planned to “do everything we could.”
Well over 100 people were involved in the effort, Allman said, including a Monterey County search team that was bringing in its team after landing at the airport at Lake Pillsbury in Lake County.
At the same time, some of Penaflor's family members were in Covelo printing up missing person posters for distribution, Allman said.
But on Saturday, with the search barely under way, the hunters found Penaflor, said Allman.
Penaflor told officials that he while he was out hunting, he fell and lost consciousness. When he fell, he suffered a serious cut on his chin, Allman said.
By the time Penaflor woke up it was foggy. He went downhill and made a bed with leaves and branches, and stayed in that area, which had a water source thanks to a nearby stream, according to Allman.
While Penaflor lost his knife, he had his rifle, and was able to take some small game like squirrels for sustenance. Allman said he also was able to keep a fire going.
When Penaflor was found, he had no broken bones and his chin had healed up, but he was too weak to try to walk out of the area, said Allman.
Allman said Penaflor was airlifted to Ukiah Valley Medical Center, where he was being treated and his family was joining him. It was expected he would be released Saturday evening.
On Saturday Allman visited Penaflor in the hospital. While he was dehydrated, the doctor said Penaflor appeared in good health.
Despite the ordeal, Penaflor was smiling, laughing and in good spirits, said Allman, who called Penaflor “just an amazing man.”
It was a great conclusion to a story that could easily have had a tragic conclusion.
“It's very heartwarming,” Allman said.
Email Elizabeth Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Twitter, @ERLarson, or Lake County News, @LakeCoNews.
SEARCH AND RESCUE WILL RESUME THE SEARCH ON 10/12/13.
Gene Penaflor (72 years old), has been missing since Tuesday, September 24th, 2013. He left Monday morning, September 23rd, on a deer hunting trip with his hunting partner in the Mendocino National forest. They were supposed to meet at noon for lunch after their morning hunt but he never showed up. After filing the missing person's report after the mandatory 24-hour period, the Lake County sheriff's department began a search for him Wednesday late afternoon until nightfall.
There were 10-11 counties (including Mendocino County, Lake County, Solano County, Glenn County, Tehama County, Marin County, Contra Costa County, Napa County, San Mateo County, Sonoma County, Siskiyou County and the Bay Area Mountain Rescue group, CHP for the use of their helicopter and the California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) for the K-9s and handlers.ake, Monterey, Siskiyou, San Mateo counties) that participated in the search operation, along with helicopters and four canine units. The Bay Area Mountain Rescue, we were informed were one of the best, also was included in the search.
The search continued through Saturday at 5 pm and was suspended because there was anticipated rain and would compromise the search teams if they continued. After 3 1/2 days of searching and combing the areas, there were no clues to be found. At the end of the search, they informed us they did their best but unfortunately there were no leads. They told us that the case is not closed; the search would continue after the rains stop, but the resources would not be as much as these past 4 days. Till this day (10/6/13) the search has not been resumed due to lack of resources.
The family refuses to believe that after all the work and fine-combing the areas with the amount of volunteers, search teams, helicopters and canine units, that Gene or any leads on his whereabouts cannot be found. Gene is an avid hunter and has been hunting for 30 years. He is a man who is capable of survival skills and extremely knowledgeable about the wilderness. He had a rifle with him when he went hunting, according to his hunting partner for 10 years, Ben. The signal for help was three quick successive shots. Ben never heard those shots and it was unlikely and out of character for Gene to be late for lunch, since they have been hunting in this particular area for at least 7 years.
Included is a photo of the map that we were given, to see the GPS tracking of the search teams trying to locate Gene Penaflor. You will see that on the map, extensive search was done. Even in good health, he is 72 years old and could not have strayed too far. Why can't they find him?
As much as we saw that the search operation was doing their best, our goal of finding him was not met. Please help us get the news out to the Bay Area to help Gene.
We need experienced and certified Search & Rescue volunteers to contact the Mendocino Sheriff's Office (707) 463-4411, if you would like to help us continue the search. The forest is huge with rough and dangerous terrain and we are requesting for knowledgeable hunters and trained search and rescue volunteers to help us find Gene.
Gene is a Bay Area resident, having lived in San Francisco, specifically the Bernal Heights neighborhood, for 30 years. He has two sons, Gale and Jeremy. He is in good health and has no medical conditions.-by Sharon Penaflor Bura (Gene's Niece)
TFCBalitangAmerica-Henni Espinosa http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIQG5AZPYEg