Black Bear Kills 16-Year-Old Boy During Race in Alaska

Image A map showing location of Alaska's Bird Ridge Trailhead

The tragedy left the Alaska mountain running community and no doubt the family in shock.

"This is the worst thing that could happen", Precosky added to Alaska Dispatch News.

A number of the runners, who had finished the race once hearing the news, helped carry medical equipment onto the mountain for medical personnel. The family member immediately informed Precosky, who then launched an impromptu search party. The last fatal bear attack in the greater Anchorage area was in 1995, when two people were killed in the Turnagain Arm area by a brown bear protecting a moose carcass, he said.

Global Positioning System coordinates from the victim's cellphone helped guide the searchers, which included most of the competitors, to the correct area. Searchers found Patrick by tracking his cell phone.

"I heard something above me and thought, maybe that's him", Weddleton said. John Weddleton, a spectator at the event, found the boy's body and saw the bear responsible for the attack just 10 feet away. "No motion. He looked very bad". Following the incident, runners reported seeing multiple bears.

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The black bear, estimated to be about 250 pounds, was alone, Crockett said.

APD, the Anchorage Fire Dept., Alaska State Troopers, the National Guard, and park rangers were all part of the search.

Shortly thereafter, officials located the juvenile who was deceased from injuries sustained during the bear mauling.

Race director Brad Precosky says the boy was mauled after he got lost and veered off the trail during the juniors division of the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb race south of Anchorage. During the half-marathon race of the same event, lead runner Chad Trammell came within 50 feet of a black bear while he was alone in the woods at the race's turnaround point. Sometimes that means nothing. As of Monday afternoon, officials were still searching for the wounded animal.

"This young man didn't do anything wrong", Crockett said.

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