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They Were on Their Way to a Famous Bus. Suddenly, a Slip

Newlywed swept away trying to cross Alaskan river near bus depicted in Jon Krakauer's 'Into the Wild'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2019 6:00 AM CDT
The abandoned bus where Christopher McCandless starved to death in 1992 is seen in this March 21, 2006, photo near Healy, Alaska.   (AP Photo/Jillian Rogers)

(Newser) – A trek in Alaska to see the "Magic Bus" ended in tragedy this week for a newly married couple from Belarus—both the same age as the man who famously died at the bus site. The Anchorage Daily News reports that 24-year-old Veramika Maikamava and Piotr Markielau, who Alaska State Troopers spokesman Ken Marsh says had been married for less than a month, were on the Stampede Trail near Healy on Thursday, on their way to the abandoned bus where Christopher McCandless died in 1992; McCandless' death was the subject of Jon Krakauer's 1996 book Into the Wild, which was later made into a movie directed by Sean Penn. The newlyweds were clinging to a rope in water up to their waist just before midnight, attempting to cross the Teklanika River, when things went terribly wrong, per Marsh.

He says Maikamava slipped and got swept away by the fast-moving river, even more engorged than usual due to recent rains, and that her husband pulled her out of the water about 75 to 100 feet down the river. Markielau says Maikamava was already dead when he got to her, per KTVA. Rescuers got to the scene in ATVs and retrieved Maikamava's body, which was sent to the state medical examiner. KTNA notes that hikers are often stranded or hurt along the trail on their way to the bus, though no one has died there in nearly a decade—another woman perished trying to cross the river in 2010. (A set of hikers on their way to the Magic Bus needed a rescue in 2013.)

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