A 24-year-old Belarusian woman died while attempting to reach the abandoned bus made famous by Christopher McCandless and Into the Wild.
Veranika Nikanava and her husband, 24-year-old Piotr Markielau, were crossing Alaska’s Teklanika River, just outside Denali National Park, when Nikanava lost her footing and was swept away. Markielau made it to shore and was able to retrieve his wife’s body downstream. He contacted the Alaska State Troopers just before midnight on July 25, and was retrieved by a police officer and volunteer firefighters on ATVs. According to Ken Marsh, a spokesman for the troopers, the couple had been married for less than a month.
The river is the primary obstacle in the popular but dangerous hike to the bus. It’s fast and cold, and can run waist-high or worse in high water. Sometimes there’s a rope strung across it, intended to help hikers. But that doesn’t guarantee safety: Nikanava reportedly lost her grip on the rope when she fell. In 2010, another young hiker, Claire Ackermann of Switzerland, drowned in the Teklanika under similar circumstances.