Abandoned bus made famous by movie Into the Wild removed by Alaska authorities

An abandoned bus in the Alaska authorities back country, popularized by the book Into the Wild and movie of the same name, was removed on Thursday as a public safety measure, state officials said.

Helicopter removed the bus where adventurer Christopher McCandless died of starvation in 1992, to prevent others trying to reach it

The bus has long attracted adventurers to an area without cellphone service and marked by unpredictable weather and at-times swollen rivers. Some have had to be rescued or have died. Christopher McCandless, the subject of the book and movie, died of starvation there in 1992.

The rescue earlier this year of five Italian tourists and death last year of a woman from Belarus intensified calls from local officials for the bus, about 25 miles (40km) from the Parks Highway, to be removed.

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.

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Feige said in a statement the bus would be kept in a secure location while her department weighed various options for what to do with it.

“We encourage people to enjoy Alaska’s wild areas safely, and we understand the hold this bus has had on the popular imagination,” her statement said. “However, this is an abandoned and deteriorating vehicle that was requiring dangerous and costly rescue efforts. More importantly, it was costing some visitors their lives.”

McCandless, a 24-year-old from Virginia, was prevented from seeking help by the swollen banks of the Teklanika River. He wrote in a journal about living in the bus for 114 days, right up to his death.

The long-abandoned Fairbanks city bus became famous as a result of the 1996 book by Jon Krakauer, and a 2007 Sean Penn-directed movie, also called Into the Wild.

The Department of Natural Resources said the 1940s-era bus had been 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.

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In March, officials in the Denali Borough based in Healy, about 25 miles from the bus, voted unanimously to be rid of it.

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