Bear kills 16-year-old runner during race in Alaska

Back-to-back Alaska fatal black bear maulings seen as flukes

In the USA state of Alaska black bear killed a 16-year-old participant of the mass of the race over rough terrain.

While black bear attacks are far less common than brown or grizzly bear encounters, black bears tend to be more "predatory", said Smith, who lives in Utah but still has property on the Kenai Peninsula's Skilak Lake.

The 16-year-old called his brother, who was also running the race, to let him know he was being pursued by the animal, local news outlet KTVA reported.

As runners continued down the hill, one runner came barreling down saying there had been an attack, and the entire race crew went into crisis mode.

Race director Brad Precosky said the boy had raced up a mountain and was on his way down extremely steep terrain that goes through thick wilderness when the attack took place.

Race organisers quickly launched a search for Cooper, but the teen was dead when rescuers found him less than two hours later.

"People come down off the trail and say they've run into a bear".

Two Fish and Game officers and one park ranger tracked the bear into Monday afternoon.

A day later, a Pogo Mine contract employee in Alaska's Interior was killed - also by a black bear.

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Marsh called the attack by the bear very unusual.

"We're going to get together our top administrators and our coaches and risk management and we're going to go through it with a fine tooth comb, we're going to talk with experts with the state and fed and we're going to start making some decisions", said University of Alaska Anchorage Cross Country and Track Coach Michael Friess. Have bear spray ready.

Cooper's body was airlifted out of the area.

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

"On behalf of our university and UAA athletics we just want to express our honest condolences to Patrick and his friends and family just what a tragedy", said Friess. "Mountain runners are never safer than when they are in a race". Bears tend to huff, paw at the ground or even make small rushes at the person.

Anchorage Assemblyman John Weddleton described encountering the bear while searching for Cooper. The bear was shot and killed after Alaska Wildlife Troopers directed the mine to have it "dispatched".

"He was just in the wrong place", Crockett said.

"It was a predatory black bear guarding the boys body when we arrived".

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