After taking a wrong turn, a 16-year-old Anchorage teen became lost while taking part in the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb-an extreme mountain race. It wasn’t long after the teen was misplaced that he reportedly encountered a black bear on the trail who immediately took chase after the young man.
As he was running away from the bear, Patrick Cooper’s brother reported that he received a phone call during the chase, alerting him that he was being pursued by a bear. Notifying race director Brad Precosky, race crews were immediately mobilized to begin searching for the young man.
After searching for a couple of hours, Cooper’s body was found with the bear close by standing guard over his recent kill. The bear was estimated to weigh around 250 pounds and was shot in the face by Chugach State Park ranger before running away.
As the boy’s remains were airlifted from the scene on Sunday, State park officials scoured the area in hopes of finding the bear. According to Alaska’s state Game and Fish spokesman Ken Marsh, this was one of those very rare predatory attacks, not often seen among any of the bear species.
“It’s very unusual,” Marsh told ABC News. “It’s sort of like someone being struck by lightning.”
No longer than 24 hours later, a second fatal mauling by the paws of a black bear was reported about 300 miles northeast of Anchorage. The second attack took place at Pogo Mine as employees were taking geological samples and were accosted by a black bear. One employee was reportedly killed and another injured in the attack.
The last fatal bear attack in the Anchorage area took place in 1995 when two people were killed by a brown bear who was protecting a moose carcass.