Deadly 'Into the Wild' bus on Alaska's Stampede Trail removed after authorities say risk to tourists too great
If you have read the book or watched the movie 'Into the Wild', then you'd be familiar with the famous bus located on the Stampede Trail on the remote side of the Teklanika River near Healy, Alaska. The bus became extremely popular for being the site of the death of the protagonist of the movie and the book – Christopher Johnson McCandless, also known by the pseudonym Alexander Supertramp. Every year, several tourists visit Alaska looking for the infamous bus, where McCandless took his last breath.
With no cellphone reception, unpredictable weather and the often swollen Teklanika River, the journey to the bus is nothing short of life-threatening exploration. Several tourists have had to be rescued or found dead over the years, while they were on the quest to reach the bus. Last year a woman from Belarus was found dead while she set out to locate the bus, and earlier this year, five Italian tourists have had to be rescued from the dangerous trail. All these mishaps have placed immense pressure on the authorities to remove the bus from the site in the best interests of tourists' safety.
So on Thursday, June 18, a helicopter was deployed to remove the infamous Fairbanks bus from the Stampede Trail. The operation was a joint effort of Alaska's Department of Natural Resources and the Alaska Army National Guard. Corri Feige, the Commissioner of Alaska Natural Resources said, "After studying the issue closely, prioritizing public safety and considering a variety of alternatives, we decided it was best to remove the bus from its location on the Stampede Trail. We're fortunate the Alaska Army National Guard could do the job as a training mission to practice airlifting vehicles, at no cost to the public or additional cost to the state." He also added that the bus would be stored in a safe location, while the department explores options for its permanent location.
The bus became famous after the publication of John Krakauer's book 'Into the Wild'. The book was adapted into a movie in 2007.
'Into the Wild' is the story of a 24-year-old Chris McCandless, who hitchhiked to Alaska in 1992. He set out on the Stampede Trail with limited food and equipment, with the intention of living a simple life. He stumbled across the abandoned Fairbanks Bus while hiking, and made it his makeshift home. McCandless documented his journey through journal entries and photos. After a few months in the wilderness, the young adventurer was ready to head back to civilization, but the Teklanika River was swollen and blocked his path. So, he had no choice but to return back to the bus. It is believed that he died of starvation in mid-August 1992. His body was discovered in the bus by a group of moose hunters in September 1992.