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Black Bear Tragically Kills Teen During Alaskan Trail Race

While running an annual race, a teen texted a family member a message no one would want ever to receive, saying he was being chased by a black bear.

Sixteen-year-old Patrick Cooper, of Anchorage, Alaska, had made it past the halfway turnaround in an annual trail race June 18 when he encountered a black bear that began to chase him. The teen sent a frantic text message to a family member, who was waiting at the finish line, which was immediately passed along to race director Brad Precosky. A search was immediately launched.

The Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb, which sees junior and adult runners run the slopes of Bird Ridge mountain, is in its twenty-ninth year.

black bear kills teen
Freshman photo of Patrick Cooper (East High School 2016 yearbook.)

The ‘Find My iPhone App’ led searchers to the area of the Cooper’s phone, but the lone bear would not allow the group – including other runners – to get close to the teen’s body. Unfortunately, no one in the initial search group had a weapon. Cooper’s body was found 500 yards off the trail in steep and heavily dense vegetation.

A park ranger who arrived on the scene shot the bear in the face, which was estimated to weigh 250 pounds, and wounded it. It ran off, leaving the body behind. As of June 19, biologists and rangers are still attempting to track and kill the bear.

“It did definitely take a slug strike to the face when the ranger fired on it,” said Tom Crockett, a park ranger with Chugach State Park. “We know he struck it.”

There is no word yet on why the bear attacked.

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Black Bear Tragically Kills Teen During Alaskan Trail Race