Precosky said that trail runners in Alaska inherently risk coming into contact with bears, but he was shocked that such a large gathering of people didn't cause the bear that killed Cooper to stay far away from the race course.
A teen who was running a trail race in Alaska was killed after being chased and mauled by a black bear, according to news reports.
A ranger shot the animal in the face, but it escaped, and a search is launched to locate the animal. The wounded animal scampered away and hasn't been seen since, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh.
The teenage boy, whose identity has not been released, was competing in the juniors division of the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb, a race that is in its 29th year.
Getting mauled by a black bear is not new to the area.
"This is the worst thing that could happen", race director Brad Precosky told ADN.
"There were probably a dozen mountain runners up there keeping the bear on its toes", Precosky said.
Racers descend at their leisure. This is the limit for the juniors' race and is approximately halfway up the mountain. The family member approached Precosky, who was then in the middle of handing out awards.
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It's unclear how the young runner and the bear encountered each other. "He was very shaken".
"We got word that it didn't look good when we got eyes on the bear around 2:30", Precosky said.
Crews began immediately to search for the boy, using Global Positioning System coordinates from his phone as a guide.
It is the second fatal bear attack in two days in Alaska.
One of the runners said he saw a bear circling the teen somewhere off the beaten path. 'It did definitely take a slug strike to the face when the ranger fired on it. Rangers don't know why it attacked the runner.
He said he'd split off from the main search party when he heard the bear.
"This young man didn't do anything wrong". "He was just in the wrong place". That incident now serving as a reminder to anyone going out in the wilderness to be extra aware of bears.
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