Sunday, April 13, 2008


Carl McCunn

‘Carl McCunn (1946 – 1981) was a Texan who, in March 1981, paid a bush pilot to drop him at a remote lake near the Coleen River in Alaska, on the southern margin of the Brooks Range, to photograph wildlife.

McCunn flew in with 500 rolls of film, 1,400 pounds of provisions, two rifles and a shotgun, but had not arranged for the pilot to pick him up again in August. He prematurely disposed of boxes of shotgun shells in the river; used the wrong emergency hand signals to a plane that had spotted him and waved the plane off; and waited too long in the season to attempt to walk out.

In February 1982 Alaska State Troopers found his body, emaciated and frozen as hard as stone, along with a 100-page diary that documented his demise. He wrote “I think I should have used more foresight about arranging my departure.” Rather than starve, McCunn had shot himself in the head.’

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