The ‘Into the Wild’ Bus Has Been Airlifted Out of the Alaskan Wilderness


The dilapidated city bus, made famous by the novel and film Into the Wild, has been airlifted out of the Alaskan wilderness where it sits on the Stampede Trail within the Denali National Park and Preserve.

The decision to remove the iconic adventure landmark was made for concern of “public safety” — multiple hikers have required rescuing in their attempts to reach the bus known as Fairbanks Bus 142 or the “Magic Bus”. Some have even died.

The bus had remained within the dense park for some 60 years. It is where 24-year-old hiker Christopher McCandless died of starvation in 1992, after staying a total of around four months at the bus and failing to leave the area for being unable to cross the violent Teklanika River.

McCandless’ adventures were first chronicled in Jon Krakauer’s 1996 book Into the Wild before it was subsequently turned into a feature film in 2007. Since then, adventure seekers from around the world have made their own attempts to reach the bus.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, there have been 15 bus-related searches and rescue operations between 2009 and 2017. In April, a Brazilian tourist was evacuated by helicopter from the bus, and in February, five Italian hikers were rescued on their return from the bus.

In 2019, a woman from Belarus died trying to cross the Teklanika River on her own journey to the bus with her husband. Another hiker drowned in 2010 on the same part of the trek.

Department of Natural Resources commissioner Corri Feige said: “We encourage people to enjoy Alaska’s wild areas safely, and we understand the hold this bus has had on the popular imagination.

“However, this is an abandoned and deteriorating vehicle that was requiring dangerous and costly rescue efforts, but more importantly, was costing some visitors their lives. I’m glad we found a safe, respectful and economical solution to this situation.”

For now, the bus has been placed in storage temporarily until the state lands on a plan for its permanent display.

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