Bus wreck that had become tourist attraction in national park in Alaska removed

Mumbai | Updated on June 19, 2020

The wrecked bus that became widely popular after the book Into the Wild (1996) and movie (2007) was airlifted by officials in Alaska on Thursday from a remote trail outside Denali National Park. The bus was a tourist attraction for many years.

Too many people were putting themselves at risk trekking to the site where adventurer Christopher McCandless died of starvation in 1992, officials said as cited in a Reuters report.

“We encourage people to enjoy Alaska’s wild areas safely, and we understand the hold this bus has had on the popular imagination,” Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Corri Feige said in a statement.

“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,” Feige said.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources and Alaska Army National Guard worked jointly to remove the 1940s-era bus.

According to the local authorities, many tourists came to see the bus over the years. However, their excursion left them hurt or stranded. Two drowned in river crossings. In April a stranded Brazilian tourist was evacuated, and in February five Italian tourists were rescued.

The local mayor called the bus removal “a big relief.”

“For public safety, we know it’s the right thing,” Denali Borough Mayor Clay Walker told Reuters.

“At the same time, it is part of our history and it does feel a little bittersweet to see a piece of our history go down the road.”

The bus was hauled to the trail about 60 years ago by a road crew, Walker said. “It turned into a perilous attraction that needed to be addressed,” he said.

The ultimate fate of the dilapidated bus is unknown. The Department of Natural Resources statement said it is being kept in a “secure location” pending a decision about its disposal. However, they did not reveal whether the dilapidated bus would be disposed of or kept as a memory.

Published on June 19, 2020

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