A teenage runner, competing in a mountain race, was tragically mauled to death by an 18-stone animal.
The petrified 16-year-old reportedly sent a final text to his brother – who was also running in the race – to tell him he was being chased by an Alaskan black bear.
The brother was ahead in the race and close to finishing, so stopped and immediately ran to officials for help.
Rescuers, which included a number of other runners, used the teenager’s phone GPS system to track the 16-year-old down, according to the Mirror.
Tragically, when they found the teenager in the wooded area, an 18-stone bear was standing over his body.
John Weddleton, who was reportedly one of the first rescuers on the scene said:
So, I got kind of through the brush, down a couple a hundred feet off the trail and the bear came rushing out of some bushes.
So, I’m yelling ‘bear!’ to warn the other people. ‘Bear, Bear, Bear!’
Eye witnesses said a ranger shot the black bear in the face, causing the animal to run off.
Medics were then able to get to the boy and tried their best to save him, but tragically he was later pronounced dead.
The teenager had not long reached the halfway point of the race – it’s here (where the younger runners turn around and head back to the finishing line), where the bear came after him.
Brad Precosky, the director of the race, which is known as ‘Bird Ridge’, told how the brother asked for help:
I went off and talked to him about it, trying to get a straight story.
He was very shaken and had received this communication.
Mr Precosky said the close-knit Alaskan mountain running community is in shock:
This is the worst thing that could happen.
Alaska state troopers released a statement saying the boy’s remains were transported from the scene and next of kin had been notified.
The popular mountain race, which is in its 29th year, is a steep course that takes adult runners up Bird Ridge mountain.
The juniors taking part only race to the halfway point roughly 1.5 miles from the start, before heading back down.
Nathan Mitchell, a sergeant with the Anchorage Police Department said rescuers with the Alaska Air National Guard used a helicopter hoist to take the young man’s body away from the scene, adding:
This young man didn’t do anything wrong.
He was just in the wrong place.