A Bay Area hunter who went missing in the Mendocino National Forest 19 days ago was airlifted to a hospital Saturday morning.

Gene Penaflor, 72, of San Francisco was last seen Sept. 24. Rescue teams from several counties initially staged a four-day search before it was called off because of stormy weather and a lack of resources.

But on Saturday, Penaflor was spotted by hunters, said Lt. Shannon Barney, who coordinates the search and rescue team for the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Penaflor was in a hard-to-reach area of the national forest, just north of Lake Pillsbury, when rescuers arrived, Barney said. He was treated by medical personnel before being flown by helicopter to a hospital.

Barney said Saturday afternoon that he hadn't yet interviewed Penaflor and was not sure why the man was in the forest for so long.

Barney said search and rescue teams from Monterey, Marin, Lake and San Mateo counties, as well as the California Rescue Dog Association, assisted in the effort Saturday.