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THE DYATLOV PASS ACCIDENT

   

 

 

 

 

 

During the night of the 1st of February 1959 a team of nine experienced cross country skiers abandoned their tent in the Russian Ural Mountains and fled to a nearby forest. They were in such a hurry that they were only partially clothed and cut though the sides of their tent to save time. The temperature outside was minus 15 degrees. Within hours they were all dead. Rescuers recovered their bodies at two separate times and discovered that while some had frozen to death others had sustained injuries. Reports have made claims of high levels of radiation, strange lights in the sky, missing body parts, strange orange skin tones and even the possibility of UFO involvement. Now we seek to understand the truth about what really happened.
  Bodies found at Dyatlov Pass

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION
Many theories - Nine Dead - One survivor - Four Investigations - Countless Theories! The Dyatlov Pass Accident! A fully recorded mystery of mind- twisting proportions.

Dear Reader

We originally published our review of this mystery in September 2008 and based it on what materials we could find at the time. Since then we have been contacted by the people who were actually involved and have been given access to some of their research and personal insights. In particular we discovered that much of the "so called' information on the internet about this case is exaggeration, or in some cases, outright misinformation. These pages are being regularly updated as new findings and information becomes available.

There really is an extraordinary mystery here that actually becomes more bewildering the more you remove the hype.

We currently now have over 200 pages of reports (many of them in Russian) and correspondence. We continue to work through them for insights and to improve the accuracy of this site. The work of our group has been recognised and recently received a letter of thanks from the Dyatlov Foundation Reunion. You can view this by clicking here.


Paul
Aquiziam Team Leader

AN OVERVIEW

In brief, the rescuers and later investigators discovered that during the night, and for an unknown reason, the ski-team had apparently ripped or cut open their tent from the inside and fled from it into the snow in temperatures of approximately -15 to -18 degrees Celsius where there was a cross wind of approximately 10 – 15 kilometres per hour (20 – 30 knots). While not as cold as the -30 degrees often reported these were still very harsh conditions and survival would be limited to between three to eight hours depending on whether those involved could keep moving. At least five of the team had fewer cloths on than would have been expected and some may even have been barefooted. Within six to eight hours every member of the ski-team was dead.

The corpses were discovered at various distances from the camp site and showed little immediate outward sign of injury but on investigation it was discovered that two victims had a fractured skull (one severe), two had broken ribs, and one was missing her tongue. In addition, two of the victims' clothes were discovered to contain trace levels of radiation. Russian investigators finally closed the case stating only that "a compelling unknown force" had caused the deaths. Again, this is a mistranslation that has added to the misunderstanding. In actual fact the correct term is “Force Majeure” and is an expression that is simply used to describe something significant that cannot be easily explained. It is also often reported that after the event the area, now loosely known as Dyatlov Pass, was immediately sealed off by the authorities and access forbidden for at least three years. Again, this implies much more than actually happened. The area was restricted but only to amateur ski-sports enthusiasts and only for reasons of safety.

This is a little known mystery and truly deserves much more attention as it is well documented and was formally investigated. Once much of the “exaggeration” and “journalistic hype” has been explained it is possible to understand that there is only really one incredible mystery and it is this. Why did nine people flee from their tent in conditions that were almost certain to result in their deaths? 

Later in this review we will examine the allegedly bizarre evidence and accusations and provide some answers. With the assistance of some of the actual original investigators the Aquiziam team has done its best to piece together the story from the information available – some of it in Russian. This is what seems to have happened

PURPOSE OF THE TRIP

According to Dr Vladimir B. group ski activities of this type were fairly common although each had their own somewhat different purpose. In his experience of Russia at the time the usual reasons were Sporting, Sightseeing (Aesthetic Appreciation) Social and Exploratory. The various teams would be made of people with varying degrees of appreciation for these interests. In the case of the Dyatlov Team their focus was on the Sporting Challenge of trip and in particular they aspired to undertake an excursion of the highest level of difficulty (complexity).

It is often stated that the purpose of this particular trip was to reach the mountain “Gora Otorten” but, in fact, the proposed route was much further. After Otorten the team planned to travel 100 kilometres southwards along the main ridge of the Ural Mountains up to Ojkachahl Peak. From this point they intended to follow the (Northern) Toshemka river thus passing 100 miles to east of the town of Vishay (Vizhaj). Today, with the availability of advanced equipment such a route would only be considered “average” in difficulty but in 1959 is was one of the hardest that could be undertaken.

As more becomes clear it seems that Igor Dyatlov had intended this trip as "training" for a future expedition possibly to the the sub polar or even polar / Artic regions. According to B. E. Slobtsova formal training did not exist at this time for such ventures and depended on experience gained during trips such as the Dyatlov team were undertaking.

THE SKI TEAM

The Dyatlov ski team was made up of eight men and two women who, except for Alexander Zolotarev, were mostly students or graduates from the Ural Polytechnic Institute located in Ekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, and now renamed the Yeltsin Ural State Technical University. Georgyi Krivonischenko, Rustem Slobodin, and Nicolas Thibeaux-Brignollel were engineers. Igor Dyatlov and Zinaida Kolmogorova were students of the Radio Faculty, Lyudmila Dubinina and Yuri Yudin were studying Economics, Yuri Doroshenko was studying Power Economics and Alexander Kolevatov was a student of the Geo-Technical Faculty.

Alexander Zolotarev was a ski / tour instructor (a professional travel guide) and wanted to go together with Dyatlov’s team to add performance points to his degree and so achieve promotion to the rank of “Master” or Expert instructor. This was and still is the practice in Russia.

Zolotarev did not know the other team members but was recommended by friends of the team from the sports club. He was accepted into the team and according to the diaries he co-operated and worked well with all of them. It is worth noting that Sports Associations were common at this time as was the willingness for people, who shared an interest such as skiing, to cooperate with each other where possible.

Ski Team Members

Order Found

Found

Wearing

Injuries

Cause of Death

Georgyi Krivonischenko - Dyatlov Pass AccidentGeorgyi Krivonischenko (24)
(Георгий Кривонищенко)

26 Feb 1959
Found 1st

Forest edge Under pine tree

Bare foot (socks) & wearing only underclothes

None recorded as unusual

Hypothermia

Yuri Doroshenko - Dyatlov Pass Accident
Yuri Doroshenko (21)

(Юрий Дорошенко)

26 Feb 1959
Found 1st

Forest edge Under pine tree

Bare foot (socks) & wearing only underclothes

None recorded as unusual

Hypothermia

Igor Dyatlov - Dyatlov Pass Accident
Igor Dyatlov (23)

(Игорь Дятлов)
 Group's Leader

26 Feb 1959
Found 2nd

Between Forest and camp site

Not known

None recorded as unusual

Hypothermia

Zina Kolmogorova - Dyatlov PassZinaida Kolmogorova (22)
(Зинаида Колмогорова)
 

26 Feb 1959
Found 2nd

Between Forest and camp site

Not known

None recorded as unusual

Hypothermia

Rustem Slobodin -Dyatlov Pass AccidentRustem Slobodin (23)
(Рустем Слободин)

26 Feb 1959
Found 2nd

Between Forest and camp site

Not known

Minor skull fracture

Hypothermia

Nicolas Thibeaux-Brignollel - Dyatlov Pass AccidentNicolas Thibeaux-Brignollel (24)
(Николай Тибо-Бриньоль)

4 May 1959
Found 3rd

Forest Ravine 75m from main pine Tree

Better dressed

Severely crushed skull

Fatal Injuries & Hypothermia

Ludmila Dubinina - Dyatlov Pass AccidentLyudmila Dubinina (21)
(Людмила Дубинина)

4 May 1959
Found 3rd

Forest Ravine 75m from main pine Tree

Better dressed – also wearing Krivonischenko’s pants as shoes

Missing Tongue and oral cavity, Many broken Ribs

Fatal Injuries & Hypothermia
(Trace Radiation)

Alexander Zolotarev - Dyatlov pass AccidentAlexander Zolotarev (37)
(Александр Золотарев)

4 May 1959
Found 3rd

Forest Ravine 75m from main pine Tree

Better dressed – also wearing Dubinina’s coat and hat

Many broken ribs

Fatal Injuries & Hypothermia
(Trace Radiation)

Alexander Kolevatov - Dyatlov Pass AccidentAlexander Kolevatov (25)
(Александр Колеватов)

4 May 1959
Found 3rd

Forest Ravine 75m from main pine Tree

Not known

None recorded as unusual

Hypothermia

Yuri Yudin - Dyatlov Pass Accident
Yuri Yudin

(Юрий Юдин)

N/A

N/A

N/A

Fell ill and returned home before the event

Survived


The train to Ivdel

 

The Truck to Vizhay - Dyatlov Pass Accident

 

Dyatlov Pass - Ural Mountains

The group first travels by train. Their destination is Ivdel, a central city of the northern province of Sverdlovsk, Oblast where they stay the night.
This picture was thought to be members of the Dyatlov group but is now revealed to be a picture of the rescue party.
Information about this picture needs to be updated!

THE EVENT TIMELINE

This timeline has been put together based on available evidence, life expectancies after injury, passing-on of clothes, travel times, estimates of survival in extreme conditions and best probabilities. Since preparing our original, we have also gained access to the official timeline published in 2006. When reconstructed in this way most of the components do start to fit together. For example it seems to have troubled investigators that only two members had traces of radiation. However, the timeline clearly shows that the source of contamination was originally Dubinina’s cloths which were later worn by Alexander Zolotarev. These were the only two members to have trace radiation. Having said all of this – it is still an estimate based on supposition and calculation. 

25 January 1959

Unknown

First traveling by train, the group arrives at Ivdel (Ивдель), a central city of the northern province of Sverdlovsk, Oblast where they stay the night.

26 January 1959

Morning

The group catch a lift with a truck that takes them to Vizhay where they stay the night.

27 January 1959

Unknown

The group starts their march towards “Gora Otorten” (map reference:  ) from Vizhay.

28 January 1959

Unknown

Yury Yudin becomes ill and turns back to Vizhay.  The others continue their trek towards Gora Otorten by following the valley and river.

31 January 1959

Unknown

The group reaches the edge of the highland zone where they will break away from the River. They spend the day preparing for the climb.  According to the “March Plan” they intended to leave a stock of supplies in a corn chandler’s shop. However another account suggests that they actually constructed a shelter in a nearby wooded area for the same reason.

1 February 1959

Morning

The group set off for what will be their last campsite.  The distance they will travel is not great and is only about 2.5 miles - although a steep incline through the forest as well as weather and snow conditions may have made the journey very slow going.

1 February 1959

4.00pm

Ttowards the evening of the 2nd of February they find themselves on the slopes of Kholat-Syakhl (a Mansi name, meaning Mountain of the Dead).  They set up camp on the exposed slope of this mountain some 10 miles from their destination - Gora Otorten. Evidence from the photographs suggests that they were in a positive frame of mind. They had cleared the trees and skiing should become easier from this point to the mountain

1 February 1959

6.00pm – 7.00pm

The group eat a meal.

1 February 1959

7.00pm – 10.00pm

Tired, at least some of the Group settle down for the night.  This is apparently evidenced by the fact that at least some of them were not fully clothed when they abandoned the tents.  The temperature outside is bitterly cold – some say as low as -18 degrees Celsius. (To be honest, it is strange that they took off any clothes at all in these hostile temperatures. When members of the team camped near Berlin, Germany, in early December 2004 the temperature dropped to minus 17 degrees Celsius and we slept with all our cloths on including our boots.)  Whatever the conditions, some of the Group felt relaxed enough to undress.  This is perhaps the strongest evidence that they were not experiencing anything significantly out of the ordinary.

1 February 1959

Estimated:
9.30pm – 11.30pm

The Dyatlov Pass Incident (Accident) Begins!  The timing of this is calculated based on the undigested food in the stomachs of the deceased. The group, in various states of undress, cut or rips through the sides of the tent(s) and flees downhill to the nearest forest. There is no doubt that they are scared and in a hurry. They know they will not survive long in the outside temperature so must be fleeing for their very lives. Why they should need to cut through the tent is bizarre in itself? Had they tied the fastenings shut and didn’t have time to untie them?  These and other still unanswered questions will be raised later to this section.

Tracks found in the snow suggest that the group was scattered at first but came back together some distance (+/-300m) down the slope.

1 February 1959

Estimated:
10.30pm – 12.30pm

It appears that the whole group hides under a larger than average pine tree on the edge of a nearby forest approximately 0.8 to 1.55 miles from their tents.  Evidence of clothes transfer (sharing) significantly suggests they initially stayed together as a group.
 

1 February 1959

Estimated:
10.00pm – 11.00pm

Desperately cold but clearly in mortal fear of returning to their tents, they light a fire.  For possibly two hours they remain where they are. The fire helps but Igor Dyatlov knows that it is not enough to keep them alive.  The “great” pine tree is lower than the campsite and broken branches suggest that at least one of the team tries to climb it to see if they can view what is happening.

Desperate and disoriented three members of the team decide to try and return to the tents. Igor Dyatlov, Zinaida (Zina) Kolmogorova and Rustem Slobodin make this superhuman effort.  Already near dead from hypothermia, or something else, they fail to make it and collapse at various intervals.  Their deaths are inevitable. They are found separately at 300, 480 and 630 meters from the pine tree.

2 February 1959

Estimated:
12.00pm – 1.00am

When the leader of the team fails to re-emerge, the remaining members of the group wait for some sign of hope.  Two further members, Georgyi Krivonischenko and Yuri Doroshenko die from cold while waiting.  (It may be that these two died before Dyatlov decides to try for the tents and their deaths may have been the catalyst for the decision) The remaining members of the Group are desperately afraid.

2 February 1959

Estimated:
12.00pm – 1.00am

The members of the group that are still alive take the clothes from the dead bodies of their comrades.  In particular, Dubinina wraps her feet in the trouser no longer needed by Krivonischenko. Straining their eyes they look in the direction of the tents.  Finally they make the decision to move further away along and into the woods. It is likely that it was at this time that the injuries sustained by this group occur.

2 February 1959

Estimated:
12.30pm – 1.30am

The survivors make it a further 75 – 700 metres into and along the woods before descending into a ravine.  They huddle together but it is clear that Nicolas is dead.  They wait and as they do Dubinina dies from chest injuries and hypothermia.  Alexander Zolotarev takes (or is given) her coat and hat to try and keep himself warm.

2 February 1959

Estimated:
12.45pm – 1.45am

Alexander Zolotarev dies from a combination of chest injuries and hypothermia.

2 February 1959

Estimated:
1.30am – 2.45am

Alexander Kolevatov, frozen, afraid, alone and exhausted drifts off to sleep – he will never awake.

Post event – date and time unknown

Unknown

Between the time of her death and the discovery of her body three months later something examines the bodies lying in the ravine.  Dubanina’s head is thrown back with her mouth open just as it was while she took her last dying breath. Her tongue may already be frozen as something rips it, and possibly the lining of her oral cavity, from her body.

12 February 1959 N/A This is the date that the Dyatlov Ski Team were meant to arrive in the town of Vishay and send a telegram announcing the completion of their route. They do not arrive and obviously no telegram is sent. This is the first real indication that something has gone wrong. However, a later converstation with B. E. Slobtsovym sugests that the team had planned an extention to their trip and would hav only arrived in Vishay on the 14th.

20 February 1959

Unknown

Relatives of the missing skiers pressure the management of the Institute into dispatching a search and rescue party.

21-25 February 1959

Unknown

An initial failure to find the skiers results in the military and civilian authorities becoming involved in the search.  Soldiers and officers take part and both planes and helicopters are dispatched to the area.  The first sighting is made by the pilot of a plane.

26 February 1959

Unknown

The searchers find the abandoned camp on the eastern slope of mountain 1079 - Kholat Syakhl. The tent was badly damaged. A chain of footsteps could be followed, leading down towards the edge of nearby woods (on the opposite side of the pass, 1.5km north-east), but after 500 meters they were covered with snow. At the forest edge, under a large old pine, the searchers find the remains of a fire, along with the first two dead bodies, those of Krivonischenko and Doroshenko, shoeless and dressed only in their underwear. They are buried under snow.The branches of cedar, under which they were lying, were broken at a height of about 5 meters. On the trunk of a tree forensic doctors found traces of skin and other tissues. With this evidence it is believed that they climbed the tree and broke off branches until their hands were literally raw.

26 February 1959 Unknown

Three hundred meters from the fire and in the direction of the tent searchers find the body of Igor Dyatlova. He is laying on his back with his head towards the tents, one hand is holding a small birch tree branch and the other is shielding his head.

26 February 1959 Unknown

180 m from the body of Igor Dyatlow and in a direction towards the tent the searchers find the body of Rustem Slobodin. He is lying face forward in the snow. Slobodin was also found to have a skull fracture of about 17 cm in length. however, experts have determined that his death was most probably from hypothermia.

26 February 1959 Unknown A further 150m from the body of rustem Slobodin and even closer to the tent, the searchers discover the body of Zinaida Kolmogorov. Traces of blood are found nearby. (We don't know the source of the blood yet.) It is worthy to note that it was Zinaida, a woman, that made it the furthest.

4 May 1959

Unknown

Second group is found buried in a ravine under 4 metres of snow. Ludmila Dubinina is found to have a symmetrical fracture of several ribs one of which may have pieced her heart. causing extensive extensive cardiovascular for 15-20 minutes after the injury. Alexander Zolotareva is found to have broken ribs on the right side.

This account (above) has been recreated from the available evidence. We are the first to admit that it may have happened very differently. Still, this is the evidence that we have to work with.

At least one of the group was armed with a rifle - Dyatlov Pass Accident

 

One large Tent - dyatlov Pass Accident

 

Having fun!  Not worried at all - Dyatlov Pass Accident

(We have been informed that this is a picture of a different group)!

 

While the tent is similar, we have been informed that this was an earlier group.

 

These people were having fun!
(Not the final Campsite)

Landscape similar to Campsite - dyatlov Pass Accident

 

Campsite - Dyatlov Pass Accident

 

What Happened Next? - Dyatlov Pass Accident

The general terrain of the Ploar Ural Mountains.

 

The campsite on the slopes of Kholat-Syakhl. Not really an avalanche threat.

 

The Dyatlov Pass Accident - incident - occurs!

The original mystery was reported in Russian. By looking at these and comparing them to English versions we have identified quite a number of components that seem to have been lost in translation. These “facts” may-or-may not be true but are as follows: (THIS FOLLOWING SECTION STILL NEEDS TO BE UPDATED AND CORRECTED.)

1. Yuri Yarovoi (a Sverdlovsk writer and journalist who was the photographer for the original rescue mission and later involved in the inquest) wrote a fictional book entitled “of the highest Rank of complexity” (strange title). Although he clearly had knowledge and insights not available to the average person his book was a romanticised version of the event with a significantly happier ending. He was allegedly made to rewrite it twice before the authorities permitted its publication. In this version only the team leader dies. Now this is the interesting part: Yuri and his wife were killed in a car crash in the mid 1980’s a few short years before the partial declassification of the Dyatlov papers. According to this source all his papers, records and private notes of the Dyatlov Pass Incident have gone missing.

2. Some details of the tragedy became publicly available in 1990 due to publications and discussions in Sverdlovsk's regional press. One of the first authors was Sverdlovsk journalist Anatoly Guschin (Анатолий Гущин). Guschin reported that police officials gave him special permission to study the original files of the inquest and use these materials in his publications. He noticed, however, that a number of pages were excluded from the files, as was a mysterious "envelope" mentioned in the case materials list. At the same time, unofficial photocopies of the case parts started to circulate among other enthusiastic researchers. (Wikipedia 2008)

3. A chance meeting between on a train with a medical assistant at the accident site – Maria Ivanovna – revealed that she recalled 11 bodies being discovered and not nine. Two were hurriedly removed to a destination unknown to her.

4. Apparently the Dyatlov Foundation has been established in Ekaterinburg, with the help of Ural State Technical University and is led by Yuri Kuntsevitch (Юрий Кунцевич), a close friend of Igor Dyatlov and a member of the search team. We would very much like to make contact with them and would appreciate any address available.

5. Evidence of metal fragments and rocket parts indicate that the area had once been used for weapon trials. However, this have may predate or post-date the Dyatlov pass Incident.

The Highest Order of Complexity - Dyatlov Pass Accident

 

Classified Documents - Dyatlov Pass Accident

 

Weapons Parts - Dyatlov Pass Accident

Of the Highest Order of Complexity! The book that had to be rewritten three times.

 

1990: Availability and Declassification.

 

This was originally identified as a weapon part but assistance has revealed that it is part of a radar system .


PART TWO OF THE DYATLOV PASS INCIDENT MYSTERY (THE THEORIES)

In Memory of ...

Igor Dyatlov (Игорь Дятлов)
Zinaida Kolmogorova (Зинаида Колмогорова)
Lyudmila Dubinina (Людмила Дубинина)
Alexander Kolevatov (Александр Колеватов)
Rustem Slobodin (Рустем Слободин)
Georgyi Krivonischenko (Георгий Кривонищенко)
Yuri Doroshenko (Юрий Дорошенко)
Nicolas Thibeaux-Brignollel (Николай Тибо-Бриньоль)
Alexander Zolotarev (Александр Золотарев)

It is our understanding that certain images used on this page are, by the nature of their wide distribution and their release as evidence from an official investigation, now in the public domain.
 

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