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Black bear kills teen

A 16-year-old boy who was fatally mauled by a black bear during a weekend mountain race in Alaska reportedly called his brother while he was being chased by the animal in a rare predatory attack, officials said Monday.

Patrick Cooper of Anchorage was attacked Sunday afternoon after he got lost and veered off the trail during the juniors division of the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb race south of Anchorage, race director Brad Precosky said.

State park staffers were scouring the area Monday looking for the bear, which ran off after it was shot by a ranger, according to state Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh. He said Sunday's attack was believed to have been a rare predatory move, not a defensive action such as when a female bear will protect her cubs.

"It's very unusual," Marsh said of the mauling. "It's sort of like someone being struck by lightning."

Responders ultimately located the boy, whose body was found about a mile up the path, at about 1,500 vertical feet (457 vertical meters). Precosky said the bear was found at the site, guarding the body.

A park ranger shot the 250-pound (113-kilogram) bear in the face, but the animal ran away.

Alaska State Troopers said the boy's remains were airlifted from the scene on Sunday.

Last week, a juvenile and two young adults sustained minor injuries when a female brown bear with two cubs attacked them. Authorities shot at that bear, but it ran off.

Areas where wilderness races such as Sunday's take place are inherently risky when it comes to bear encounters, Precosky said. Competitors in the Bird Ridge race sign a liability waiver as part of the registration process.



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