A teenage boy has been mauled to death by a bear while running a race in Alaska.
Patrick Cooper was taking part in a competitive hill climb on Bird Ridge near Anchorage when a black bear began to chase him down the extremely steep trail.
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.
Race organisers quickly launched a search for Cooper, but the teen was dead when rescuers found him less than two hours later.
His body was discovered around 450 metres off the trail in a heavily wooded area about a mile from the end of the race.
However, Cooper couldn’t be reached when he was first spotted because the bear was guarding the body, The Alaska Dispatch News reported.
The animal was shot in the face by a ranger but managed to escape, local officials said. A search mission is now underway to find the bear.
Although the smallest of the three species of bears found in North America, black bears still typically weigh around 25 stone and can grow to more than 7 foot.
Tom Crockett, a park ranger, said Cooper “didn’t do anything wrong”.
“He was just in the wrong place,” Crockett said. “You can’t predict which bear is going to be predatory.”
It was the first fatal bear mauling in Alaska since 2013, according to The Associated Press.
However, just a day later another black bear killed a worker at one of the state’s gold mines, also injuring another person.