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'Predatory' bear mauls boy to death during race

20 June 2017 world-news

A 16-year-boy has died after being mauled by a “predatory” black bear as he took part in a mountain race.

A search was launched after Patrick Cooper went off the trail in Bird Ridge, Alaska, and called his brother to say he was being chased by a 250lb bear.

After a couple of hours other runners tracked down the teenager using the GPS coordinates on his phone, but found him motionless on the floor with the bear guarding his body.

Volunteer searchers sent the race director a text message saying they “needed a weapon”, before a park ranger arrived on scene and shot the bear in the face.

However, it survived and ran off.

Rangers and wildlife officials continue to search for the bear, which they intend to kill.

Park ranger Tom Crockett said: “It did definitely take a slug strike to the face when the ranger fired on it. We know he struck it.

“This young man didn’t do anything wrong, he was just in the wrong place.

“You can’t predict which bear is going to be predatory.”

Patrick was found around 500 yards off the trail in steep, heavily wooded terrain, Mr Crockett added.

The teenager, from Anchorage, was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was airlifted to hospital.

Race director Michael Friess said the “tragedy” would be reviewed “with a fine tooth comb”.

He said: “You just never know, you never know where you’ll see a bear or encounter a bear.

“We just want to express our sincere condolences to Patrick and his friends and family.”

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