Alaska National Guardsmen assigned to 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, in coordination with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources airlifted "Bus 142" from Healy, Alaska, with a CH-47 Chinook helicopter on Thursday. File Photo by Spc. Craig Lyons/Alaska National Guard
June 19 (UPI) -- The Alaska National Guard used a helicopter to relocate the iconic Into the Wild bus due to the "hazard" it presents to tourists seeking to find the remote vehicle.
The 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment used a CH-47 Chinook helicopter to lift the school bus Thursday. The bus -- known as Bus 142 and the Magic Bus -- has sat abandoned on the Stampede Trail for decades.
It became famous in 1996 after the publication of Jon Krakauer's book, Into the Wild, which detailed the story of Christopher McCandless, who used the bus for shelter and died there in 1992. The book was turned into a movie by the same name starring Emile Hirsch in 2007.
McCandless abandoned his comfortable life to travel to Alaska, where he planned to hike the Stampede Trail. He came upon the bus and lived there for a few months before dying of what medical officials determined was starvation.
A journal and an undeveloped roll of film he left behind gave insight into the months he spent in the wilderness and captured the attention of hikers and thrill-seekers. Its remote location, though, has caused some to put themselves in dangerous situations, with some dying.
In July, a newlywed from Belarus died after she was swept away by a river as she and her husband attempted to access the bus.
The Department of Natural Resources said there were 15 search and rescue operations related to the bus between 2009 and 2017.
"We encourage people to enjoy Alaska's wild areas safely, and we understand the hold this bus has had on the popular imagination," DNR Commissioner Corri Feige said. "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 said the bus will be stored securely until the department determines a permanent location for it. National Guard members also packed up personal items that belonged to McCandless in the bus for safe storage.