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.
This article was 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.
Still, there really is an extraordinary mystery here that actually becomes more bewildering the more you remove the hype.
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.