US & Canada

Alaskan gold miner killed in rare black bear attack

Black bears, like this one in British Columbia, rarely attack humans
Image caption Black bears, like this one in British Columbia, rarely attack humans

An Alaskan gold miner has died in the second fatal mauling by a black bear in the state in as many days.

Two contract employees of the Pogo Mine were attacked on Monday while collecting geological samples.

Fatal black bear attacks against humans are very rare, experts say. Around 90% of deaths by bears in Alaska are caused by brown bears or grizzlies.

On Sunday a 16-year-old boy was killed by a 250lb (113kg) black bear while running in a trail race.

Image copyright East High School yearbook
Image caption Patrick Cooper, 16, had texted his brother during the race to say he was being chased

Patrick Cooper was competing in the Robert Spurr Memorial Hill Climb near the city of Anchorage, when he was attacked.

Since 1880, only six deaths in the state have been linked to black bears, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

The victim of the latest attack, which unfolded about 340 miles (550km) north of Anchorage, has not yet been identified.

Another mine employee suffered "non-life-threatening injuries" in the incident, reports the Daily News-Miner.

Employees of the underground mine shot and killed the black bear.

After the attack, 24 other mine workers were recalled to the main camp, the newspaper reports.

"Right now we have more questions than answers. Everyone on site is concerned for those involved," said Pogo Mine general manager Chris Kennedy.

"Our condolences have been shared with our contractor and our hearts go out to the individuals, their colleagues, and their families."

Image caption Brown bears and grizzlies harm more people than black bears by far

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