Black bears kill 2 in Alaska, including teen in extreme race

Rebecca Barbier
Junho 25, 2017

The boy had been competing in the juniors division of the annual Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb race which has been staged in the heavily wooded area between Anchorage and Girdwood for the past 29 years.

The 16-year-old runner knew he was in trouble and texted a family member to say that he was being chased by a bear shortly after 12:30 in the afternoon.

The boy, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was found about a mile up the trail on what Mitchell said was "really, really rugged" terrain at about 1,500 vertical feet.

Troopers took possession of the victim's remains to transport to the State Medical Examiner's office for autopsy. A Chugach State Park ranger shot the 250 lb bear, which then ran and officials have yet not been able to locate it.

"It's very unusual", Marsh said.

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Park rangers arrived and saw Cooper "pinned" by the bear, Matt Wedeking, operations manager for Alaska State Parks, told the Associated Press. The attack is still under investigation and no names have been released. After an initial ground search, trackers found traces of blood from the bear and believe it has moved deeper into the mountains. He said that he yelled "Bear!" a few times to warn the other searchers. That's when the 16-year-old Anchorage boy encountered the black bear that would take his life in a rare predatory attack. Last week 3 youths endured minor injuries when a female brown bear attacked them to protect her cubs.

An Alaskan black bear.

Since 1880, only six deaths in the state have been linked to black bears, the Alaska Dispatch News reports. One of the park rangers who responded shot the bear in its face, but that did not kill the animal. Two people were killed by a brown bear protecting an animal carcass. "But right now I don't have any information about the bear". However, the bear merely ran away.

"We have personnel en route to assess the situation", Mcneil said.

The teen had been running with a pack of competitors, but they reportedly lost track of him at some point. "Like this", said Precosky. "In the entire history of the race I've never known of any bear incidents", Precosky told The Alaska Dispatch News. Crockett said. "You can't predict which bear is going to be predatory".

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