Authorities Move Dangerously Located “Into the Wild” Bus

The bus has led to several deaths over the years

"Into the Wild" bus
The famous (or infamous) bus featured in "Into the Wild."
Erikhalfacre/Creative Commons

What happens when an artifact from a life takes on an almost religious significance for a particular subculture? That’s the case with an abandoned bus located in a remote corner of Alaska, made famous as the place where Christopher McCandless spent several months living before his 1992 death. McCandless was the subject of Jon Krakauer’s acclaimed book Into the Wild (and Sean Penn’s 2007 film adaptation), both of which have made him a kind of posthumous celebrity.

The abandoned bus has also become a shrine for travelers dedicated to McCandless’s life — which poses a problem for the local authorities. Because of its location, getting to the bus makes for a hazardous journey — and it’s one that’s been fatal for a number of would-be visitors.

As long as the bus was in its current location, it was likely to be a magnet for visitors — which has finally led to its removal. The Guardian has more details about its relocation, which took place on Thursday:

The Alaska natural resources commissioner, Corri Feige, said the Alaska Army National Guard moved the bus as part of a training mission “at no cost to the public or additional cost to the state”.

The Alaska National Guard, in a release, said the bus was removed using a heavy-lift helicopter. The crew ensured the safety of a suitcase with sentimental value to the McCandless family, the release said.

The bus is being stored in a secure location for the time being, as Feige ponders what to do with it next. On one hand, she notes its sentimental and historical value to many; on the other, questions remain as to whether or not the vehicle is structurally sound. The last chapter in the long history of this bus may yet have been written.

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