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Black bear kills 16-year-old boy running in race

American black bear (Getty Images)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A 16-year-old runner competing in a race in Alaska on Sunday died after he was mauled by a black bear.

The teenager, whose identity has not been released, was a participant in the juniors division of the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb race when he was attacked, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

He was at the halfway point turnaround and on his way down at 12:37 p.m. when he texted a family member that he was being chased by a bear.

Officials immediately began a search and used GPS coordinates from the runner’s phone to locate him, the newspaper says. When park rangers found him, the bear was still near the teen’s body so a ranger shot the animal in the face before it ran away.

“It did definitely take a slug strike to the face when the ranger fired on it,” said park ranger Crockett. “We know he struck it.”

The boy’s remains were taken via helicopter from the scene.

“This young man 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.”