Veramika Maikamava and her husband, Piotr Markielau wanted to visit Fairbanks Bus 142, where Into the Wild protagonist Christopher McCandless died in 1992, CNN reports. Markielau notified Fairbanks state troopers on Thursday night that his wife had died.
The newlywed couple attempted to cross the Teklanika River; however, due to recent rains, the river was running high and fast, and Maikamava was pulled under the water. According to Markielau, when he finally got his wife out of the water around 75 to 100 feet downstream, she had already died. Her body was sent to the state medical examiner and an investigation is now ongoing.
Writer Jon Krakauer initially wrote about McCandless’ trek in a 1993 article for the magazine Outside, which was later developed into his 1996 book Into the Wild. Starring Emile Hirsch as McCandless, Sean Penn directed the 2007 film of the same name.
McCandless grew up in a Washington, D.C. suburb, and after graduating from Emory University in 1990, he traveled west to embark on a two-year hitchhiking journey. Krakauer wrote that in April 1992, McCandless traveled to Alaska where he was dropped off at the Stampede Trail. A few days later, he found the abandoned bus and lived there for almost three months. Then, in early July, he decided to re-integrate into civilization.
He attempted to cross the Teklanika but the glacial river was running fast and high from rain and snowmelt. McCandless couldn’t find a way across, so he headed back to the bus, where he survived for about another month before dying from starvation in August 1992. Since Krakauer’s book and Penn’s movie, hikers from around the globe have tried to repeat McCandless’ last expedition, with many of them perishing.