A 22-year-old Rutgers University student who was killed by a bear while hiking with friends in a New Jersey nature preserve took cell phone photos of the animal moments before his death.
Darsh Patel was hiking with four friends through the Apshawa Preserve in West Milford in September when he was mauled by a 300-pound black bear, the New York Daily News reports.
Patel was the first confirmed instance of a person to be killed by a bear in New Jersey.
The sixth photo was snapped by Patel’s friend who was reportedly standing next to him.
According to authorities, the young hikers met a man and a woman who were leaving the preserve and warned the group that a bear was roaming the area.
They didn’t listen to the couple’s warning and took photos of the bear from about 100 feet away.
The beast began walking towards them as they turned around and walked away, but the bear followed, coming within 15 feet of the group. That’s when they ran in different directions, but only four were able to escape to call 911.
Unfortunately, it was too late, Mad World News notes. The group last saw Patel climbing a rock with the bear following close behind him, and shouting for his friends to keep running.
The bear was circling Patel’s body before police arrived at the scene and fatally shot it. Human remains were discovered in the bear’s stomach and in its esophagus. Police also found human blood and tissue under the animal’s claws.
The 22-year-old student’s phone was recovered nearby with bite marks on it.
Check out the photos, released after NJ Advance Media filed an Open Public Records Act, below: