Famous abandoned bus in Alaska removed for safety reasons.
Alaskan officials have finally removed an abandoned bus made famous by a book and movie out of concern for the safety of visiting tourists.
The abandoned bus, also known as Fairbanks City Transit 142, is a relic of construction in the 1940s. It was left in a remote area near Denali National Park and made famous by the book and movie "Into the Wild." ABC News reports the vehicle was airlifted out of the bush using an Alaska Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter on Thursday after years of calling for its removal.
"Into the Wild" was the story of 24-year-old Christopher McCandless, a hiker who in the early 90s, died of starvation at the bus on the Stampede Trail approximately 28 miles west of Healy, Alaska and the nearest road. He survived approximately 113 days in the wilderness. His story was first made famous by a story in "Outside" magazine in 1993 by Jon Krakauer, which he later turned into the best-selling book. The story gained even more traction when it was made into a movie starring Emile Hirsch as McCandless in 2007.
The spot became a huge destination spot for tourists. Like McCandless, officials say many were unprepared for a hike to such a remote area. Compounding problems, the area has no cellphone reception. ABC News reports the Alaskan Natural Resources Commission finally decided enough was enough after numerous rescues and even a few deaths. At least one woman died hiking to the bus last year. Five tourists from Italy already had to be rescued from the backcountry this year alone. These incidents led to more calls for the bus to be removed. Alaskan Natural Resources Commissioner Corri Feige said in a press release the Army National Guard used the opportunity to remove the vehicle as a training exercise.
"We encourage people to enjoy Alaska's wild areas safely, and we understand the hold this bus has had on the popular imagination," Feige said. "However, this is an abandoned and deteriorating vehicle that was requiring dangerous and costly rescue efforts. Most importantly, it was costing some visitors their lives."
Many Alaskan residents and officials local to Healy have been largely critical of McCandless in the years since his death. The man went by the nickname "Alexander Supertramp" the last few years of his life and he basically lived on the road during that time. His backcountry experience was limited. The last person to see him alive tried to convince the young man to postpone his trip into the wilderness because of his lack of supplies. We know from diary entries that McCandless did struggle to find food as he attempted to live off the land. Eventually he did attempt to return to civilization in July of 1992, but he was turned back to the bus by the raging waters of the Telkanika River. He died in the bus sometime in August. Hunters found his body in the bus a month later in September of 1992. When his remains were found, they weighed only 67 pounds.
Unknown to McCandless, there was a tramway that crossed the river not far from the spot he had first crossed it back in April. Many have pointed to this mistake as another sign of how inexperienced the man was. McCandless has still managed to develop a large fan following and it was largely what led to the bus becoming a destination spot. For now, the bus will remain in storage until authorities decide what to do with it.