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Famous 'Into The Wild' Bus Removed from Alaskan Wilderness by Helicopter

Christopher McCandless
By Gary Trock

The broken-down Fairbanks City bus that Christopher McCandless famously lived, and died in, to inspire the famous book and movie, "Into The Wild," has been airlifted from its location after attracting too many hikers to a similar fate as Alexander Supertramp.

The announcement was made Thursday by Alaskan officials as the bus has become an infamously popular hiking destination over the years. Local Alaskan outlets captured the Chinook helicopter being removed from its isolated location in Denali National Park near the Teklanika River.

Where Is It Going?

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The moving of the bus was reportedly a joint operation between the Alaska departments of transportation, natural resources and military and veterans’ affairs.

"Operation Yutan" involved cutting holes in the ceiling and floor of the bus to attach chains and airlift it out via helicopter to a waiting flatbed for further transportation. According to a statement from officials, they also secured a suitcase with "sentimental value" that belonged to McCandless and will be given to his family.

The bus was moved to a "safe storage" location, but officials aren't saying exactly where. It's possible that the bus will be put on public display in the future.

Popular Hiking Spot

Jon Krakauer / Instagram

The story of Christopher McCandless giving up his worldly possessions and traveling up to Alaska became world-famous after author Jon Krakauer published his book, "Into The Wild," in 1996, 4 years after McCandless died on the "magic bus" of starvation and poisoning. It was later adapted into a feature-length film directed by Sean Penn and starring Emile Hirsch.

After the story became well known, many hikers set out on a similar trek to McCandless' bus and ended up being rescued by officials because of the extreme terrain. There has also been multiple deaths, one as recent as last year, from people trying to cross the nearby river.

The Family Doesn't Seem Happy

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Jon Krakauer, who also penned "Into Thin Air" about his experience during the infamous 1996 disaster at Mt. Everest, told fans about McCandless' bus being removed after being informed by his family.

"Carine McCandless informed me a few hours ago that the bus where her beloved brother Chris McCandless lived and died in the summer of 1992 was lifted out of the Alaska bush this morning by a Chinook military helicopter, placed on a flatbed trailer, and trucked to an undisclosed location for “safe storage." the author wrote.

It doesn't seem like Krakauer, nor the family, is happy about the piece of history being removed, but officials claim it was important to prevent future incidents.

“We encourage people to enjoy Alaska’s wild areas safely, and we understand the hold this bus has had on the popular imagination,” a rep from the Department of Natural Resources said in a statement. “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."

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