When living in Alaska, it's not unusual to come across wildlife. Living in a more remote area with a lot of nature surrounding it can lead to encounters with larger-than-life animals.
Unfortunately for Patrick Cooper, a 16-year-old from Anchorage, Alaska, he did not survive his animal encounter, but did manage to warn his brother it was happening.
Cooper was running in the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb race through the Bird Ridge mountain. He was running up the mountain and had made it to the halfway point of his climb, getting ready to turn around and head back. Cooper was about 1.5 miles away from his starting point.
At 12:37pm, Patrick Cooper's brother received a text message from Patrick, letting him know a black bear was chasing after him.
Cooper's brother approached Brad Procosky, the race director, to let him know of his brother's imminent danger.
"I went off and talked to him about it, trying to get a straight story," Precosky said. "He was very shaken and had received this communication."
Immediately, a search was launched with the help of Chugach State Park rangers. The search party used the GPS coordinates on the missing runner's phone and were off on a trail through the heavily wooded area.
They found the coordinates, and what they found left them stunned.
Continue reading to find out what they found, and what happened to the bear.
"The bear was remaining in the area where the young man was laying," said Tom Crockett, a park ranger with Chugach State Park.
Patrick Cooper was found 500 yards off the race trail down a 30 degree slope. Rangers believe the teen was chased to this location by the bear, but it is also possible Cooper adventured off by his own accord, and ended up getting himself in trouble.
When rangers approached the bear and Cooper's body, they shot the bear in an attempt to kill him. The bear ran away from the scene.
"It did definitely take a slug strike to the face when the ranger fired on it," Crockett said. "We know he struck it."
It's still unknown as to why the bear attacked Patrick Cooper, especially since bear encounters are so uncommon in those parts of the area.
"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."
The Bird Ridge trailhead will remain closed until the attacking black bear is located and killed.