"This is the worst thing that could happen", says the director of an Alaska trail race that ended in tragedy Sunday.
State park staffers were scouring the area Monday looking for the bear, which ran off after it was shot by a ranger, according to state Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh.
"I've been running in the mountains for 30 years", Precosky told KTUU.
The popular mountain race is in its 29th year. Although adults take on a portion of the mountain that covers three miles' worth of terrain, participants under 17 generally run half of that.
Racers descend at their leisure.
The teen was said to be halfway through the race when he texted a relative that he was being chased by a bear. The family member approached Precosky, who was then in the middle of handing out awards. "I heard something above me and thought, maybe that's him", Weddleton told the media outlet. "He was very shaken and had received this communication". The family member had Global Positioning System coordinates from the missing runner's phone that helped guide searchers to the area where his phone was. "They were running the race".
Law enforcement officials say the annual Father's Day run that the 16-year-old boy was participating in includes rugged terrain, including heavy woods and steep inclines. Authorities began searching for the teenager after he texted a relative that a bear was chasing him, according to Precosky. One runner said he had seen a bear circling a teen.
"We know he struck it", he added. Tom Crockett, Park Ranger, said the bear appeared to be a predatory bear opposed to a defensive, which is rare. Rangers are still attempting to locate the wounded bear and kill it.
Sightings and encounters with bears are not unusual in Alaska.
"It's devastating, it's tough", Anchorage Police Sgt. Nathan Mitchell said.
"This young man didn't do anything wrong". He was just in the wrong place.