‘Into the Wild’ bus, hauled away by National Guard, to be kept in Alaska museum

Soldiers from the Alaska Army National Guard moved a bus made famous by the book "Into the Wild" as part of a training mission on June 18, 2020.


By JOSEPH WILKINSON | New York Daily News | Published: July 31, 2020

(Tribune News Service) — The Alaskan bus where explorer Chris McCandless died in 1992 will likely be displayed in a Fairbanks museum, state officials announced Thursday.

McCandless’ journey and death were the subject of the 1996 book and 2007 movie “Into the Wild,” leading to worldwide fascination with the bus.

Since then, two more people have died making the journey and dozens more have been rescued.

Last month, the bus was airlifted out of the Alaskan wilderness and into an undisclosed location. Thursday, officials disclosed the future location of the bus as the University of Alaska’s Museum of the North.

“The proposal from the UA Museum of the North best met the conditions we at DNR had established to ensure this historical and cultural object will be preserved in a safe location where the public could experience it fully, yet safely and respectfully, and without the specter of profiteering,” Alaska Department of National Resources commissioner Corri Feige said in the release.

McCandless, 24, reached the bus while exploring the Alaskan wilderness, but the nearby Teklanika river overflowed while he was there, and he was trapped for 114 days. He died of starvation. His journal was found alongside his remains weeks later.

The retelling of his story in “Into the Wild” led many people to retrace his steps. Two of those people died, most recently Veramika Maikamava in 2019.

Numerous others required rescue, including five Italians earlier this year, and locals asked the state to move the bus.

Officials said they’d seen dozens of proposals for the bus’ new location, but liked the Museum of the North’s proposal best.

The 1940s-era Fairbanks city bus, known as Bus 142, was abandoned in 1961 and had been used as an emergency shelter by hunters before becoming a tourist death trap.

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A screenshot from an Alaska Army National Guard video shows the removal of a bus made famous by the book "Into the Wild."

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