Woman dies trying to reach ‘Into the Wild’ bus

FAIRBANKS — A newlywed woman from Belarus who was swept away by a river in Alaska was trying to reach an abandoned bus made famous by the book and film “Into the Wild.”

Veramika Maikamava, 24, and her husband, Piotr Markielau, also 24, on Thursday were heading for the bus where hiker Christopher McCandless met his death in 1992, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

The bus has been the source of multiple rescues since it was made famous, first by Jon Krakauer’s book published in 1996 and then by Sean Penn’s 2007 film. Both chronicled the life and death of McCandless, who hiked into the Alaska wilderness with little food and equipment and spent the summer living in the bus. McCandless was found dead in the bus almost four months later.

Markielau called troopers in Fairbanks late Thursday to report his wife’s death during a hike, Alaska State Troopers said.

The couple was trying to cross the Teklanika River along the Stampede Trail near Healy when the woman was swept under water, the troopers said. The river was flowing high and fast because of recent rains.

Markielau reported he was able to pull his wife out of the water a short distance away downriver, but she had died by then, the troopers said.

The body has been recovered.

In June 2013, three hikers were rescued by a passing military helicopter when they tried to reach the bus.

In May 2013, three German hikers trying to reach the bus on the Stampede Trail, near Healy, located about 10 miles north of the entrance to Denali National Park and Preserve on the Parks Highway, also had to be rescued. They told troopers the river they crossed getting to the bus had become impassable for the return due to high, swift-running water. The hikers had proper gear but only enough food for three days, troopers said.

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