Two people have been killed in the previous week in separate black bear attacks. Patrick Cooper, a runner in a race was the first victim, while a contract miner at work was the second.
The Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb race turned into a disaster when 16-year-old Patrick Cooper got lost and was mauled by a black bear. Cooper already reached the halfway mark when he missed the trail.
Based on the police report, Copper managed to frantically call his brother to inform him that he was being chased by a black bear. Race director Brad Precosky immediately launched a search and rescue operations but they failed to locate the boy.
After a few hours after, the responders located the body of the teen about a mile up the path at 1,500 vertical feet (457 vertical meters) with the bear who stood guard. The attack was considered a rare predatory behavior not common among black bears in the area.
One Chugach State Park ranger shot the 250-pound bear (113-kilogram) in the face, however, the animal still managed to flee the scene. Meanwhile, the Alaska State Troopers confirmed that Cooper's body was airlifted from the scene last Sunday, June 18, 2017.
Authorities say that they are trying to figure out why the bear behaved that way. Female bears tend to be defensive when caring for cubs but won't attack in a predatory manner.
"It's very unusual, Ken Marsh, State Fish and Game spokesman said. "It's sort of like someone being struck by lightning.
But the attacks did not stop there. Last Monday, June 19, another victim was killed 300 miles northeast of Anchorage. Based on the police report, the mauling occurred inside Pogo Mine, a gold mine in the area. The victim was a contract employee tasked to take geological samples. The attack left another miner injured. However, no names were divulged by the authorities for the second incident.
The state park rangers remain clueless with regard to the behavior of the animal. When asked when there are cubs in the area, Alaska State Parks division operations manager Matt Wedeking said that there could have been but they don't know for sure and that they have no further information about the bear as of the moment.
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