It’s been 27 years since we first heard about Christopher McCandless tragic death venturing through the Alaskan wilderness and a mere twelve since the theatrical release of Into the Wild. Since then, travelers who share McCandless’s restless/ reckless spirit have been venturing through the same wilderness in search of the “Magic Bus” where the traveler’s body and the diary describing his final days was first discovered. This past weekend, that journey took yet another life as a 24-year-old newlywed from Belarus drowned while attempting to cross the Teklanika River while looking for a shortcut to the bus.
According to Reuters, Veranika Nikanava was crossing the river just before midnight with her husband Piotr Markielau when she lost her footing causing her to let go of a rope often used to help hikers cross. Piotr caught up to his wife a short distance downriver, but it was already too late.
McCandless too faced the Teklanika River, and the rivers depth and violent rushing waters is one of the obstacles that kept him from getting the food he needed to survive. Into The Wild‘s vast popularity continues to bring fans and fellow travelers to the Alaskan wilderness every year, as travelers seek the Magic Bus to pay tribute to McCandless memory, but it turns out those people often need saving of their own.
According to Ken Marsh, a spokesperson for the Alaska State Troopers, there have been 15 bus-related search and rescue operations in the area between 2009 and 2017. Reuters reports that Veranika and Piotr had only been married for less than a month.