Nikita was killed after trying to pose for a photo with bears, according to reportsCredit: East2west News
A schoolboy was mauled to death by a pair of brown bears after they dragged him inside their cage at a holiday resort.
The 11-year-old youngster, named only as Nikita, was "thrown around like a ball" and killed by the predators, reports suggest.
The boy had been "showing off" his bravery in front of two girls, allegedly "provoking the bears" and "slapping their paws."
He tried to pose for a photo in front of the animals but he got too close, it's reported.
The girls, around the same age as Nikita, watched in horror as the bears clawed and bit their helpless friend, hurling him around their cage in Sochi.
They screamed for help and they called their parents but it was too late to save the youngster.
Staff at the guest house shot both predators dead so that the boy's motionless and bloody body could be retrieved.
An ambulance crew confirmed his death.
Psychologists are now working with the traumatised girls.
The bears' outer cage had been left "unlocked" at a guest house's mini-zoo in the Black Sea resort.
Nikita went in but he was then pulled inside the inner cage via a hole dug by the bears under the bars, it was reported.
Eyewitnesses claimed the boy had been “provoking the bears”, slapping their paws.
“He slapped the bears’ paws to show how cool he was," a resident told broadcaster Vesti Kubar.
“A hole had been dug under the cage and they just pulled the boy through this.
“They were tossing him around like a ball. He was all broken.”
The bears mauled the boy to death after dragging him into the cage Credit: East2west News
A criminal case has been opened into “causing death by negligence” against the guest house owners, said the Russian Investigative Committee.
'HE WANTED TO SHOW OFF'
Sochi mayor Alexey Kopaygorodsky reacted by banning all mini-zoos in the resort.
“All such mini-zoos, cages and aviaries must be closed,” he said.
“They cannot ensure the safety of our children."
His great-aunt Evgenia Mikhailova, 57, told Sochi24 TV: "It is so scary what has happened."
His great-uncle Vladimir Mikhailov said: “He was with two girl friends, one of them a bit older.
“I think that he wanted to show off in front of the girls.
“There is a double cage and people throw food into the space between two cages.
“He went into this space and the bears got him."
School psychologist Tamara Dolotkazina, who knew Nikita, described the boy's death as a "terrible tragedy."
"He was a very good, intelligent boy.
“I am just shocked by some people saying that the deceased is to blame- not knowing all the details.
“God is the judge of such people, my condolences to his parents.
“I knew him well, I had been working as a psychologist in his school.
“He was a very smart, nice boy. It is a terrible tragedy."
The bears had been caged at the guest house after they were found as orphaned cubs by rangers, it's reported.
Source: The Sun UK