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Germans rescued by Alaska State Troopers on misadventure 'Into the Wild'

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch
Alaska State Troopers dispatched a helicopter on Monday to rescue three Germans, who had hiked 20 miles from the end of Stampede Road to the abandoned bus where Chris McCandless, protagonist of "Into the Wild," died in 1992. Wikimedia user Erikhalfacre photo

The "Magic Bus" has once again drawn young wanderers into the wild at the end of Stampede Road, near Healy, Alaska. Only this time, the adventurers lived to tell the tale.

Alaska State Troopers dispatched a helicopter on Monday to rescue three Germans who had hiked 20 miles from the end of Stampede Road to the abandoned bus, well known as the shelter where Chris McCandless, a nomad memorialized in the Jon Krakauer book and Sean Penn movie, "Into the Wild," died in August 1992.

According to troopers, 26-year-old Michael Baumann of Healy dropped the three men -- Florian Gerner, age 21; Roger Karl, age 20 and Eric Schlegel, age 19 -- at the end of Stampede Road May 23. The Germans told troopers they would trek roughly 20 miles out to the bus, then return.

They were due back on Sunday but did not return.

"Due to high water in the region, Baumann was concerned for their safety," troopers reported in a dispatch, prompting a helicopter rescue. It took troopers about 10 minutes to spot the group.

According to the dispatch:

They were in fair condition but hungry and wet. They reported going to "the bus" and as they attempted to make the return trip the rivers they crossed were now impassable due to high water levels and swift running water. Helo II transported all three to their vehicle at the end of Stampede Road. They were checked and cleared by Healy medics.

The group had proper gear for the outing, but only had enough food for three days.