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Teen made frantic call to brother before being mauled to death by bear during Alaska race

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—Patrick Cooper had already turned around after reaching the halfway point in a popular mountain race in Alaska when he somehow veered off the trail and became lost. That’s when the 16-year-old Anchorage boy encountered the black bear that would take his life in a rare predatory attack.Cooper began running, and at one point he reportedly placed a frantic call to his brother, saying he was being chased by a bear Sunday in the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb race south of Anchorage. The brother notified race director Brad Precosky, who alerted race crews to begin searching for Cooper, known as Jack.It took a couple hours for responders to locate the teen, whose body was found about 1.5 kilometres up the path, at about 1,500 vertical feet (457 vertical metres). The bear was found at the site, guarding the body, Precosky said.A Chugach State 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.Article Continued BelowState park staffers were scouring the area Monday looking for the bear, state Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh 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, he said.A sign warns people that the trail is closed after the fatal mauling of 16-year-old Patrick Cooper at Bird Ridge Trail in Anchorage, Alaska, during the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb race.  (Mark Thiessen / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)  “It’s very unusual,” Marsh said of the mauling. “It’s sort of like someone being struck by lightning.”Later Monday, a second fatal mauling at the hands of a black bear was reported nearly 480 kilometres (300 miles) northeast of Anchorage. Officials with an underground gold mine reported a contract employee hired to take geological samples was killed and another injured in a black bear attack.

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