Newlywed Woman Dies After Trying to Reach ‘Into the Wild’ Bus in Alaska

By Tiffany Meier
Tiffany Meier
Tiffany Meier
Tiffany Meier is a New York-based reporter and host of NTD's "China in Focus."
July 27, 2019 Updated: July 27, 2019

An Eastern European woman, who was recently wed, died in Alaska while attempting to visit an abandoned bus made famous by the book and film “Into the Wild,” state troopers said.

On Thursday, July 25, Veramika Maikamava and her husband, Piotr Markielau, both 24, were hiking on the Stampede Trail in Healy, Alaska State Troopers said.

While attempting to cross the Teklanika River, Maikama of Belarus lost her footing and grip on a rope stretched across the river intended to help hikers, Ken Marsh, a spokesperson for the Alaska State Troopers, told the Anchorage Daily News.

He added that the river reaches waist high, which makes it hard to cross.

Alaska State Troopers in Fairbanks added that the river was “running high and swift due to recent rains.”

While Markielau was able to eventually pull his wife out of the water some 75 to 100 feet downriver, she was already dead.

Her body has been sent to the state medical examiner and an investigation into the incident is ongoing, state troopers added.

The couple had been married just under a month and were trying to reach the bus featured in the 1996 book by Jon Krakauer “Into the Wild,” according to Anchorage Daily News.

The bus is where the subject of the book, 24-year-old Chris McCandless, leaves society and lives in the abandoned bus for some time in the wilderness before dying in 1992 from starvation, according to the “Into the Wild” website. McCandless described his final days in a diary, which the book and movie was based on.

The book was made into a film in 2007 and was written and directed by Sean Penn, according to IMDb.

Following the success of the book and film, the location of the bus has become an infamous destination for hikers, leading to several rescue missions and tragic deaths.

In 2010, a woman from Switzerland also drowned in the river while attempting to reach the bus, according to Anchorage Daily News.

Marsh added that from 2009 to 2017, there have been 15 state search-and-rescue missions in the area.

In May 2013, state troopers used a military helicopter to rescue three hikers who were trying to reach the bus.

The three hikers from Germany, Florian Gerner, 21; Roger Karl, 20; and Eric Schlegel, 19, set off on May 23, 2013. Trooper Michael Baumann of Healy dropped them off at the end of Stampede Road, according to Anchorage Daily News.

The three hikers told him they would go out to the bus, which is an approximate 20 mile trek, and then return.

However, they never came back.

“Due to high water in the region, Baumann was concerned for their safety,” troopers said in the report.

Troopers spotted the hikers within 10 minutes after dispatch via a helicopter, according to the report.

The young men were able to make it to the bus, but on the way back, the river and waters became so high and fast that returning was impossible.

While the group had proper gear, they only brought enough food for three days, troopers said.

From NTD News

Tiffany Meier is a New York-based reporter and host of NTD's "China in Focus."