A 16-year-old running in an annual mountain race in Alaska was reportedly killed by a bear on June 18.
Officials initiated a search for the unnamed teen after he sent a text message saying he was being chased by the bear, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.
The teen was running in the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb at the Bird Ridge Trailhead near Anchorage and he was running back down the mountain when he came across a black bear.
The National Guard, park rangers, the Anchorage Police Department, and troopers responded to the distress call, KTUU-TV reported.
The teen’s body was found near the main trail and was pronounced dead on the scene, officials said.
“I’ve been running in the mountains for 30 years,” said Brad Precosky, head of the race., according to KTUU. “People come down off the trail and say they’ve run into a bear. Sometimes that means nothing; other times, it’s really serious. Like this.”
“This is the worst thing that could happen,” Precosky added to Alaska Dispatch News.
“The mother was here with her family, her children,” noted Anchorage Police Dept. Sgt. Nathan Mitchell. “They were running the race.”
The ranger shot the 250-pound bear in the face after finding it, the New York Post reported.
“This young man didn’t do anything wrong. He was just in the wrong place,” ranger Tom Crockett said. “You can’t predict which bear is going to be predatory.”