News Worms
News Worms


Teenager killed by bear during mountain race

Teenager killed by bear during mountain race

In the first attack on Sunday, a black bear killed 16-year-old runner Patrick Cooper, who got lost competing in a mountain race south of Anchorage.

But they warn that people venturing into bear habitats should always carry repellent spray or guns.

The deceased texted his family after being attacked by the bear while taking part in the 29th annual Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb race between Anchorage and Girdwood, a report in the local Alaska Dispatch News read.

A short time later, they called back to report one employee was dead and the other had non-life-threatening injuries in the same incident.

Authorities shot the bear in the face with a shotgun, but apparently it disappeared into the brush and is thought to still be wandering the trails. "If it was a graze...if it was not a mortal hit or the very debilitating hit on the bear, it could've traveled for miles", said Dave Battle of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Sources say the victim apparently veered off the trail when he was attacked by a large 250-pound black bear.

Now-retired state bear biologist John Hechtel tracked Alaska's fatal bear maulings between 1980 and 2014 and counted only three fatal maulings by black bears.

"I think everyone is just terribly sickened by the whole episode", he said. They're about to enter mating season, which begins in July.

But he quickly added he will not give up running in the wilderness. "Mountain runners are never safer than when they are in a race". She has been trained in understanding bears and, while she doesn't worry about herself, she worries for others.

The maulings won't be prompting any extra protective measures in another popular mountain race in Alaska, the upcoming Independence Day Mount Marathon in Seward, about 110 miles south of Anchorage. Races actually can be said to cut down on the risk of a bear encounter because so many people are there, making noise and making their presence known, Precosky said.

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