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Into the Wild Magic Bus Removed From Alaska Park to Keep Tourists Safe

The iconic Fairbanks City Transit System Bus number 142, made famous by the book Into the Wild and also known as the Magic Bus, is no longer where it used to be. The Army National Guard sent two helicopters to clear the area and take it away.
CH-47 Chinook prepares to take Magic Bus away from Alaska National Park 8 photos
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The story of Fairbanks 142, the Magic Bus, is a fascinating one. It’s so fascinating that many people have died trying to retrace the steps of the person who wrote it, American hitchhiker Chris McCandless, who used it as camping base for one summer in 1992, before dying of starvation.

Since 1996, when the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer came out, the bus attained iconic status. Hikers would brave the weather and the tough Alaskan bush to get into the Denali National Park to find the bus. Many would die in the search and even more would get lost or badly injured.

It was for this reason that the Department of Natural Resources decided to call in the Army National Guard to get the bus. A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was dispatched to clear the area, and a twin-engine, tandem rotor CH-47 Chinook was used to remove the bus from its previous location, according to a statement from the National Guard.

The bus is now at a secure location that will be kept a secret, pending a decision from the DNR on where it could display it. The goal is to continue the legacy of the Magic Bus as part of Alaska history but without having tourists literally dying over it.

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

Chris McCandless’ story was turned into a film, also called Into the Wild, in 2007, with Sean Penn in the writer and director’s chair, and Emile Hirsch as the lead.

McCandless had hiked his way to Alaska from California and was planning to live off the land in the wilderness. He found the bus and turned it into his camp for nearly four months. His body was found by hunters, approximately two weeks after he had died of starvation.



press release
 
 
 
 
 

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