Fairbanks Bus 142 was made famous by the Jon Krakauer book, Into the Wild. It probably gained even more fame from the movie which was based on the book.
Into the Wild is about the life of Chris McCandless who decides to live an unconventional life after graduating college. He decides to give his life savings to charity, work odd jobs and eventually hike into the Alaska wilderness, surviving for 114 days on the Stampede Trail in Denali National Park.
McCandless spent his time camping inside the old Fairbanks Bus 142 where he later died. His body was eventually discovered by hunters.
Since Into the Wild came out, the bus has been an attraction for some to hike to. The hike to and from the bus is quite dangerous and it’s led to many people needing to be rescued from the trail. Two people have even died, drowning as they tried to cross the Teklanika River to reach the bus.
Due to public safety concerns, officials in the Denali Borough voted unanimously to remove the 1940s-era bus.
The bus was removed in dramatic fashion, being airlifted away by the Alaska Army National Guard. The removal by heavy-lift helicopter was done as part of a training exercise so there was no additional cost to the public or state.
For now, the bus will be kept in a secure location while a decision is made with what should be done with it.
I couldn’t recall why the bus was abandoned in the wilderness. NBC News mentions that it was “used by a construction company to house employees during work on an access road in the area and was abandoned when the work was finished in 1961“.
I hope that the bus is preserved for fans to visit in the future. I propose that an Into the Wild museum is created with the bus as its main attraction!
Find out more from NBC News here.