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Bear mauls teen to death in Alaska

June 19, 2017 10:10 AM

A parent's worst nightmare came to life this Father's Day when a teen running an annual Alaska trail race was fatally mauled by a bear.

Law enforcement officials and fellow competitors said a 16-year-old boy was participating in the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb at Bird Ridge, which was being run for the 29th year straight.

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Dozens of runners, including the teen, toed the starting line that morning. The mountain race begins at the start of Bird Creek Trail, and meanders through heavily wooded terrain. 

"I've been running in the mountains for 30 years," said Brad Precosky, a director of the race. "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."

The teenager reportedly sent a text message to his mother during the race, sometime around 12:30, saying he was being chased by a bear.

"The mother was here with her family, her children," said Anchorage Police Dept. Sgt. Nathan Mitchell. "They were running the race."

Precosky said the teen's fellow competitors had lost him in thick brush. When one came barreling down the trail saying there had been an attack, he said, the entire race crew went into crisis mode. 

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