The Dyatlov Pass Incident, part 2

Read part 1 here.

Autopsy results and more information

Yuri Doroshenko, 21.
Dyatloff_group_115_Dor[1]Born in 1938 he was a student of the UPI university. He was once involved in a relationship with Zina Kolmogorova and even met her parents in Kamensk-Urals. Although they broke up he kept a good relationship with her and Igor Dyatlov.
Doroshenko was one of the two bodies found under the cedar tree and he was wearing a vest and a short sleeve shirt, knit pants and shorts over pants. His pants were badly ripped with one large hole (23 cm in length) on the right side and smaller on the left (13 cm in length). Pants had tears on the inside of the thighs. On his feet he had a pair of wool socks. The left sock was burned. He had no footwear.

– The hair was burned on the right side of the head.
– His ears, nose and lips were covered in blood.
– His right armpit had a 2 x 1.5 cm bruise.
– On the inner surface of the right shoulder were two abrasions 2 x 1.5cm with no bleeding in the tissues, two cuts on the skin.
– On the upper third of right forearm were brown- red bruises sized 4 x 1 cm, 2.5 x 1.5cm, 5 x 5cm.
– The fingers on both hands had torn skin.
– Bruised skin in the upper third of both legs.
– Frostbite on face and ears.
– On the right cheek there were foamy grey discharges from the mouth.

The foamy grey fluid that was found on the right cheek gave some doctors a reason to think that before death someone or something was pressing on his chest cavity. This could also be a result of a nasty fall from a tree. Nevertheless this aspect was ignored in the final papers. Cause of death: hypothermia.

Yuri Krivonishenko, 24
Dyatloff_group_115_Kriv[1]Born in 1935 he graduated from UPI University in 1959.

Krivonishenko was the second of the two bodies found under the cedar tree. He was dressed in a shirt, long sleeved shirt, swimming pants, pants and torn sock on his left leg. He had no footwear.
– Bruises on the forehead 0.3 x 1.8cm and a bruise around the left temporal bone.
– Diffuse bleeding in the right temporal and occipital region due to damage to temporalis muscle.
– The tip of the nose is missing.
– Frostbitten ears.
– Bruises on the right side of the chest 7 x 2cm and 2 x 1.2cm.
– Bruises on hands.
– Detachment of the epidermis on the back of the left hand at width of 2cm.
– A portion of the epidermis from the right hand is found in the mouth of the deceased.
– Bruises on the thighs with minor scratches.
– Bruise on his left buttock 10 x 3cm.
– Abrasions on the outer side of the left leg size 6 x 2cm and 4 x 5 cm.
– Bruises on the left leg 2 x 1, 2 x 1.5 and 3 x 1.3 cm.
– Burn on the left leg 10 x 4 cm

Igor Dyatlov, 22
Äÿòëîâ ÈãîðüBorn in 1937. A student of the 5th Faculty of Radio Engineering at the UPI University. A talented engineer designed and assembled a radio during his 2nd year, which was used during hikes in 1956 in Sayan Mountains. He also designed a small stove that was used since 1958 by Dyatlov himself and that he had brought with him on this trip. People who knew Igor described him as a thoughtful man who never rushed into anything. He courted Zina Kolmogorova who also took part in the hike. Igor Dyatlov was one of the most experienced athletes in the group.

The head of the deceased was bare. He had unbuttoned fur coat with pockets, a sweater, long sleeved shirt, ski pants over his pants. Footwear was absent. He had only one pair of socks, woolen on the right and cotton on the left. He had a pocket knife and a photo of Zina Kolmogorova.
– Minor abrasions on the forehead.
– Abrasions above the left eyebrow of brown- red color.
– Brown- red abrasions on both cheeks.
– Dried blood on lips.
– Lower jaw had a missing incisor, the mucosa was intact that suggest the tooth was lost long before the final trip.
– On the lower third of the right forearm and the palm surface many small scratches of dark red coloration.
– Metacarpophalangeal joints on the right hand had brown red bruises. This is common injury in hand to hand fights.
– Brownish- purple bruises on the left hand, also superficial wounds on the 2nd and 5th finger.
– Bruised knees without bleeding into the underlying tissues.
– On the lower third of the right leg bruising.
– Both ankles had abrasions, bright red, size 1 x 0.5 cm and 3 x 2.5 cm. Hemorrhage into the underlying tissue.
There were no internal injuries. The cause of death was hypothermia. Later Yury Yudin would testify that the long sleeved shirt found on the body of Igor Dyatlov was his. But he gave it to Doroshenko then he was departing. It would be logical to assume that Dyatlov got it from a frozen body of the Doroshenko after he had died.

Zinaida Kolmogorova, 22
Zina KolmogorovaBorn in 1937, she was a 4th year student at the UPI University as a Radio Engineering Major. She was an experienced hiker who had her share of difficulties. During one of her trips she was bitten by a viper. Despite pain and suffering she refused lighten her load, unwilling to cause hardship to others.

Zina was better dressed than the bodies underneath the cedar. She had two hats, long sleeved shirt, sweater, another shirt and a sweater with torn cuffs. It was unclear whether she cut them off or they were torn by another person. She also had trousers, cotton athletic pants, ski pants with three small holes on the bottom and a military mask. She also had three pairs of socks. No footwear.
– Swelling of meninges, the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, common feature of hypothermia.
– Frostbites on the phalanges of fingers.
– Numerous bruises on hands and palms.
– A long bruise that encircled her torso on the right side, 29 x 6cm.
Her cause of death was proclaimed as hypothermia due to violent accident.
Further studies proved that she was not sexually active at the time of her death.

Rustem Slobodin, 23
Dyatloff_group_115_Sl[1]Born in 1936, he graduated from the UPI University in 1959. He was a very athletic man, honest and decent, although quiet at times. He liked to play mandolin that he often brought with him during long hiking trips. His father was a professor at another Sverdlovsk University. Although Rustem was ethnically Russian his father gave him a traditional Tatar name following a popular fashion of international friendship of all men. This was USSR after all with its own ideology.

Rustem wore a long sleeve shirt, another shirt, sweater, two pairs of pants, four pairs of socks. Unlike previous bodies he wore one boot (valenki) on his right leg. His pockets had 310 rubles and a passport. Additionally searchers discovered a knife, pen, pencil, comb and a match box with a single sock.
– Minor brownish red abrasions on the forehead, two scratches are 1.5 cm long at the distance of 0.3 cm between them.
– Brownish red bruise on the upper eyelid of the right eye with hemorrhage into the underlying tissues.
– Traces of blood discharge from the nose.
– Swollen lips
– Swelling and a lot of small abrasions of irregular shape on the right half of the face.
– Abrasions on the left side of the face.
– Epidermis is torn from the right forearm.
– Bruises in the metacarpophalangeal joints on both hands. Similar bruises are common in hand to hand combat.
– Brown cherry bruises on the medial aspect of the left arm and left palm.
– Bruises on the left tibia the size of  2.5 x  1.5 cm.
– Fracture of the frontal bone of the skull and hemorrhages in the temporalis muscle. This could have been done by some foreign blunt object. Medical autopsy further states that Slobodin probably suffered loss of coordination due to initial shock right after the blow that could speed up his death from hypothermia. It is still somewhat unclear how he managed to harm his exterior hands and legs. When a person falls, even in an irrational state, it is usually the palms that suffer the most as well as medial aspects of the legs. Injury to the head is less common, especially bilateral ones. It is also usual to harm the face and sides of the skull while the back of the head has no damage. In case of Slobodin body we see the opposite. His injury pattern is a reverse of what we would usually see in injuries suffered by a freezing man in the last minutes of his life.

The four bodies in the den were found several months after their deaths and were inspected on May 9, 1959.

Lyudmila Dubinina, 21
0_50713_afe7198b_M[1]Born in 1938, she was a third year student in the UPI University, an Engineering and Economics Major. She was active in tourist clubs, liked to sing and take pictures. Many of the pictures of the last trip were shot by her. During an expedition to the Eastern Sayan Mountains in 1957 she was accidentally shot by another tourist who was cleaning his rifle. She endured the painful injury courageously. During the long and painful transportation back she didn’t complain but felt sorry for causing the group trouble.

Lyudmila wore a short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, and two sweaters. The body was covered by underwear, long socks, two pairs of pants. External pair was badly damaged by fire and subsequently ripped. She also wore a small hat and two pairs of warm socks. A third sock was not paired. Lyudmila apparently in the last attempt to preserve her feet took off her sweater and cut it in two pieces. One half she wrapped around her left foot. Another half she left or dropped unintentionally on the snow.
– Tongue is missing. Missing hypoglossal muscle as well as muscles of the floor of the mouth.
– Soft tissues are missing around eyes, eyebrows, and left temporal area, bone is partially exposed.
– Eyes are missing.
– Nose cartilages are broken and flattened.
– The # 2, 3, 4 and 5 ribs are broken on the right side, two fracture lines are visible.
– The # 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 ribs are broken on the left side, two fracture lines are visible.
– Soft tissues of the upper lip are missing, teeth and upper jaw is exposed.
– Massive hemorrhage in the heart’s right atrium
– Bruise in the middle left thigh, size 10 x 5cm.
– Damaged tissues around left temporal bone, size 4 x 4cm
It is mentioned that the stomach contained about 100 g of coagulated blood. It is used by some as an indication that the heart was beating and the blood was flowing when the tongue was removed. The cause of death is stated as hemorrhage into right atrium of the heart, multiple fractured ribs and internal bleeding.

Semen Zolotarev, 38
He was born in 1921. He was the oldest and also the most mysterious member of the group. A native of North Caucasian Kuban Cossacks he survived the Great Patriotic War serving from October 1941 till May 1946. Survival rate for the generation born in 1921- 22 was 3% so Semen Zolotarev was a very lucky man in those days. Additionally his real name was Semen while everyone called him “Sasha” or “Alexander”. There is no credible explanation as to why he chose to introduce himself by a different name.
It is known that he joined a Communist party after the war. In April 1946 Zolotarev transferred to Leningrad Military Engineering Univeristy. Later he transferred to the Minsk Institute of Physical Education (GIFKB). In the yearly 50’s he worked as a guide for the tourist base Artybash in Altai in Southern Siberia.

The body of Semen Zolotarev was found with two hats, scarf, short, long sleeve shirt, black sweater and a coat with two upper buttons unbuttoned. It was fairly clear that he did not die from hypothermia. The lower part of the body was protected by underwear, two pairs of pants and a pair of skiing pants. He had a copy of newspapers, several coins, compass, and a few other items. His feet were protected by a pair of socks and a pair of warm leather handmade shoes known as “burka”. Additionally the body of Zolotarev had a camera around his neck which is clearly seen in the pictures. This camera was a complete surprise to Yuri Yudin. He had assumed the group had only four cameras which were found in the tent. Unfortunately melting water damaged the film. But the question still lingers; why did Zolotarev leave the tent with the camera and why did he take two cameras on the trip? One was used on daily basis and everyone saw it. It was left in the tent and discovered there by the search party, but another was hidden throughout a journey and was found only after Semen Zolotarev had died.
– Eyes are missing.
– Missing soft tissues around the left eye brow, size 7 x 6cm. Bone is exposed.
– Flail chest. The # 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 ribs are broken on the right side, two fracture lines.
– Open wound on the right side of skull with exposed bone, 8 x 6cm in size.
Both Zolotarev and Dubinina have an interesting pattern of injuries. They are very similar in direction and force despite difference in shape, height and body composition of the two. This would suggest that whatever caused these injuries was not a single uniform event.

Aleksander Kolevatov, 25
Dyatloff_group_115_Kolev[1]Born in 1934, he was a 4th year student as a Physics Major at the UPI University. Prior to moving to Sverdlovsk he finished the Sverdlovsk Mining and Metallurgy Collegy majoring in metallurgy of heavy nonferrous metals. He distinguished himself as a good student and moved to Moscow to work in secret institute of the Ministry of Medium Machine Building that was called merely by its serial number of I 3394. Later he moved to the Research Insitute of Inorganic Materials that was engaged in producing materials for the growing nuclear industry. In 1956 he moved back to Sverdlovsk and joined UPI. His friends described him as diligent, pedantic and methodical with clear leadership qualities.

– Lack of soft tissues around eyes, eyebrows are missing, skull bone is exposed.
– Broken nose.
– Open wound behind ear, size 3 x 1.5cm.
– Deformed neck.
That is all the information there is on Kolevatov’s autopsy. It is possible the body was too decomposed to extract more information.

Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle, 25
i_010[1]Born in 1934, he graduated in 1958, majoring in Civil Engineering, from the UPI University. He was the son of a French Communist who was executed during the Stalin years. He was born in a concentration camp for political prisoners. His friends liked him for his energy, good sense of humor and generally friendly and open character. Everyone  who knew him and went on camping trips with him told of the care he had for all members of the group. He often helped younger or weaker members of the group carry their things. He fixed their bags to reduce the pain and make them more comfortable.
Nicolai had promised his mother that this would be his last hiking trip.

– Multiple fractures to the temporal bone of the skull, with extensions to the frontal and sphenoid bones.
– Bruise on the upper lip on the left side.
– Hemorrhage on the lower forearm, size 10 x 12cm.

Vozrojdenniy, who undertook the autopsy, excluded accidental fall on the rock as a possible cause for such a massive and unusual fracture.

The last four bodies had all suffered significant damage to their bones. They were crushed with immense force. Doctors compared the extent of the damage to being hit by a car.

Additional information

Alexander Kolevatov kept a personal diary. Yuri Yudin, the only survivor of the group, testified that it was with him on the last trip. The diary went missing.

Judging by the pictures taken by the group at least one of the cameras went missing.

Strange unidentified cloth “obmotki”, an old school version of socks, was found near the bodies.

Semen Zolotarev introduced himself as “Alexander” to the group. In fact most memorials of the group list his name incorrectly.

Yuri Krivonishenko, the man whose clothes had heightened levels of radiation, was once working in Chelyabinsk- 40, a secret nuclear facility that experienced a disaster that became known as Kushtumkoy accident. On September 29, 1957 the plutonium plant had a radioactive leak. Yuri Krivonishenko was among the people who were sent to clean it up. However, being an engineer Yuri had more knowledge about radioactivity than most people at the time and it is highly unlikely that he kept any of the clothes that he was wearing two years prior to the trip.

On the morning of March 31 the group of search and rescue volunteers saw strange glowing pulsating orbs in the sky. One of the members, Valentin Yakimenko, described this event;
“It happened early in the morning while it was still dark. Viktor Mescheryakov who stood guard that night left the tent and saw a large glowing sphere in the sky. He woke everyone up. We watched this orb (or disc) for about 20 minutes until it disappeared behind the mountain. We saw it in the South- East direction from our tent. It was moving in a Northern direction. This event freaked everyone out. We were sure that this event was somehow involved in the death of the Dyatlov group”.

Several witnesses and family members reported strange discoloration on the bodies of the victims. One of the family members compared their skin color to those of the people of African descent.
There could be a natural explanation for this though. When a body dies its cells build up with toxins and then burst. The fluid causes skin slippage. It looks like a really bad sunburn on the top surface. The process is called autolysis.
Link here (Warning! Graphic images)


Several theories have arisen in the last decades as to what really happened during the Dyatlov Pass incident. Among them are;

Soviet special forces getting rid of witnesses.
Maybe the group saw something they were not supposed to.

Western spies.
It is possible one or more of the members in the group could have been recruited as spies by western civilizations. It’s possible they were meeting people on the mountain and things went sour.

Criminals escaped from Siberian concentration camps.
Escapes from concentration camps did occasionally happen and for an escaped prisoner to avoid being recaptured he would have had to keep to the wilderness, possibly for years. It is unlikely the group ran into one or more of these escaped convicts, and it’s even more unlikely that they would have all perished due to such a meeting, but it remains a theory none the less.

Mansi natives.
During the investigation some people remembered a woman geologist in the 30’s who ventured onto the sacred land of this proud, unconquered nation. She was subsequently tied and thrown in the lake.
This theory was however abandoned for lack of evidence. Also, Kholat Syakhl was never a sacred place. It was feared and it was avoided, no one considered it important for the beliefs of the native people.

As much as avalanches are common in the mountains in the winter, Kholat Syakhl is not a very tall mountain, and it’s definitely not steep. Another thing that speaks against this theory is the relatively thin snow cover reported by the group.
However these facts don’t exclude the possibility of a small avalanche. A portion of the upper layer of snow could simply shift and roll over the hikers as a slab of snow. This could damage the tent and create havoc among tourists who were suddenly trapped underneath several feet of snow. It would certainly explain why the tent was cut from inside. Further retreat would be necessary if the tourists were worried a second avalanche would strike.

According to the supporters of this theory Dyatlov Group tried to make their way back to the Auspiya river but instead made the fatal mistake of descending into the valley of the Lozva river. After 4 weeks the snow that was rushed down the slope of the mountain was simply blown off by the strong winds that are common in the region. This would erase all signs of a natural disaster.
This theory has gaps however. From what we can tell by the naked footprints left by the group everyone seemed to descend with relative ease. It is highly unlikely that three people with broken ribs and flail chest would be transportable at all. And here we see several badly damaged men and a woman walk without problems or even help from any of the members of the group. Secondly these men and women were experienced and well trained. They knew that a risk of freezing to death is more likely than getting killed by an avalanche.
And finally, if you look at the pictures taken February 1st on the left and February 26th on the right you can see the ski pole that has kept its vertical position on the slope for weeks after the tragedy struck. Furthermore the entrance of the tent is clearly elevated. Only the middle portion collapse probably due to hasty escape or weigh of snow simply collecting here.

Secret launches/ UFO/ meteor.
When all natural theories seem to fall short trying to explain what happed during the Dyatlov Pass incident people tend to consider more unorthodox ones. Although this theory may seem farfetched at first glance there might be some merit to it.
Pulsating orbs were seen repeatedly in January, February and March by students, geologists, natives and even local military. Mansi hunters that camped out near Kholat Syakhl claimed to have seen flying orbs near the mountain. Their testimonies were later stricken from the record. Additionally several geologists 70 km from the mountains saw some glowing and pulsating orbs flying in the direction of the Kholat Syakhl on the evening of the tragedy. These testimonies were ignored.
In early April several testimonies were gathered from local soldiers who claimed to have seen UFO’s on February 17 around 6:40am. They all described slow moving orbs that were moving from South to North in a strange cloud of dust or a fog.
Members of the rescue party also claimed to have witnessed these mysterious orbs.
So what were these orbs? Some think they could have been secret tests of R-12 rockets. These rockets weren’t officially delivered until March of 1959, although American intelligence claims the bases were established as early as in November 1958.
There were also several bases in the region containing the S- 75 rocket, the rocket used to shoot down the infamous U- 2 plane just south of Sverdlovsk in 1960.
Another possibility is that the orbs were space rockets launched from Baykanur base, the chief base for the Soviet Space program that is still in use today. About this time several rockets were launched from said base, though the military claimed the rockets landed in the northern Ural mountains, far from the site of the Dyatlov Pass.
There have been suggestions that an infrasound, possibly coming from the rockets, might have been responsible for sudden unpleasant feelings among the Dyatlov group, driving them to leave the tent in a panic. This theory however does nothing to explain the injuries of the group and is therefore less interesting.
Another reason the missile/ rocket theory is unlikely is that the witnessed orbs changed trajectory several times, something missiles/ rockets are not prone to doing.

i_038[1]Lev Ivanov, the man who was in charge of the investigation at the Dyatlov Pass, lived a long life. In the early 1990’s he gave an interview to a local journalist where he made a statement that during his investigation he and E.P. Maslenikov both noticed that the pines in the forest were burned at the top. He also claims that A.P. Kirilenko, member of the Soviet Congress, along with his advisor A.F. Ashtokin forced Ivanov to take out all references to the unknown flying objects or other strange phenomena. This included pictures of flying spheres drawn by the Mansi hunters and other testimonies.

It is true that Soviet Union experienced a boom of interest on everything unknown in the late 80’s. Skeptics might also think that Ivanov gave this interview to make money. However it should be mentioned that Kirilenko became obsessed with UFO’s after the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Starting in the early 60’s he filed several requests to gain access to the KGB archives. We don’t know what was found in the documents, but it is undeniably strange that a political figure in USSR paid such keen interest to this subject. UFO’s were not investigated by the official science as it was seen as pseudo- religious phenomena. Atheist Soviet Union obviously prohibited any interest in the subject, especially among members of the highest legislative body in the country.

Yeti/ Menkvi.
Some people won’t even consider this theory, but fact remains that almost anywhere you go on earth locals have stories about a huge ape-like creature roaming the area. The same applies here.
The Mansi people believe an angry and violent animal known as the Menk or Menkvi roams the Ural mountains. The legend claims that their behavior and aggression toward the humans is the reason why gods punished the world with the great flood. Very few Menkvi survived on top of the mount Luv-Syakvur. Others drowned. These few creatures are left to walk in solitude across empty land. They die, but they are later reborn in the same shape and appearance.
Several members of the search party later remembered the state of shock that some of the native Mansi experienced when they found the bodies. Some of them believed that death of the young Russian group might have been caused by a Menkvi, since they believed several caribous or reindeer belonging to a local Mansi herder were killed by a Menkvi  just few weeks prior to the accident.
The bodies of the 9 Mansi hunters that were found dead on the mountain were left in place, but they too showed strange signs of internal damage. The Mansi were somewhat uneasy about the possibility of encountering these flesh eating monsters in life.
The cuts on the tent may not have originally been made as a means of escape but as a way to view the surroundings. It is possible that the group felt threatened and wanted to look outside without opening the tent entrance and leaving themselves exposed.
It is possible that a panic broke out inside the tent if the group saw something like a Menkvi and that they tried to escape by ripping the tent and going down the slope. This would explain why they left their warm clothes and other necessities in the tent. It would possibly also explain why Zolotarev brought a camera with him.
A creature described as the Menkvi, an aggressive and violent creature could probably have caused the injuries inflicted on the group. It’s not a pleasant theory though as you can only imagine the absolute horror the group must have felt, isolated in the dark and cold night on the mountain with some kind of monster hell bent on killing them.
Interestingly, the American Embassy in Nepal sent a document to The Department of State, Washington entitled ‘Regulations covering mountain climbing expeditions in Nepal – Relating to Yeti’. It contained three regulations for that climbers must abide by should they encounter a Yeti. Interestingly, the date shown on this document is December 20, 1959.
Another possibility is that the group encountered a particularly angry bear. A bear could probably have caused the bone injuries to the group, although it seems unlikely that the group would show so few flesh wounds. There were abrasions on the bodies but they seem to be far less serious that those bear claws would cause.

The search party digging around the tent
The search party digging around the tent

54 years on, the Dyatlov pass incident still remains a mystery. And the mountain of Kholat Syakhl continued to claim lives. In 1960-61 several air crafts went down in the area, claiming the lives of yet another 9 people.
Tourists today repeat the track of the Dyatlov group, but none of groups ever contain 9 people.
In the early 2000’s a group of 9 tourists under supervision of a rescue crew repeated the same descent down the slope of Kholat Syakhl. Despite snow cover and night time none of the participants recieved any significant bruises or cuts. Those who observed the students did not report any difficulty in locating members on the mountain side. None of the group members were lost and vocal/ eye contact was constant between the group’s members at all times. This only adds to the mystery of what really happened on Kholat Syakhl that day.
The case of Dyatlov Pass deaths remains open.

What I find most confusing is that the most severely injured individuals, the ones in the den, were the last to die. It clearly shows that they took the clothes off their fallen comrades in an effort to save themselves, which they would not have been able to do had they already suffered the injuries. Therefore one must conclude that whatever happened on the mountain happened over a period of time and not just once. This pretty much takes the avalanche theory out of the equation.
Furthermore, two of the individuals, Dyalov and Slobodin show clear signs of hand to hand combat. Did they fight each other? Or an intruder?
And the injuries done to the people in the den, especially to Lyudmila Dubinina, seem so excessive. Such extreme overkill. If someone caused them they would have to have been very, very angry…
In any case, writing about this incident has been hard. It’s only too easy to imagine the feelings of horror and hopelessness the group must have felt, no matter what actually happened.

The last photo of the roll of film in the camera. Could have been snapped accidentally.
The last photo of the roll of film in the camera. Could have been snapped accidentally.

Read more about the Dyatlov Pass incident on wikipedia, and a very extensive article here.

137 thoughts on “The Dyatlov Pass Incident, part 2”

  1. Excellent post and fascinating comments. I, too, love a good supernatural or cryptozoological explanation. However, as a military guy with Arctic experience, time in combat, and munitions training, I think the answer is much simpler, though some critical bits of info are missing from the autopsy reports. I would like to know if the examiners checked the condition of their ear drums. The reports of large amounts of “scrap metal” around the tent area makes perfect sense based on what I’ve observed. If a military weapon (missile, artillery round, or even an anti-personnel mine) detonated in air near the tent (or in the case of a land mine, within yards) the concussive shock would’ve had a variety of effects consistent with what we see here. An air burst (or near air burst) of even a modest-sized munition will devastate people out in the open, but the effects aren’t like the movies with fire and sparks. The injuries are cause by the overpressure of the shock wave created by the rapid expansion of gases. The injuries described here are precisely the kind we see from primary blasts. The lack of external injury in almost every blast event often fools people into thinking they must not have any internal injuries. In fact, primary blast internal injuries are often fatal after a time. The external injury that happens in nearly all primary blasts is destruction of the ear drum, thereby deafening the victims. Neurotrauma (called BINT for blast-induced neurotrauma) is also common, where blast effects impair memory, reasoning and critical thinking skills. BINT effects can impair people critically in any environment, but in the Arctic winter, even moderate BINT effects would almost certainly be fatal due to the elements.

    So if we imagine our intrepid crew is camped for the night in the Arctic darkness (which at that time of year is early and profound), when an explosive blast from a military training event or discarded munition from a previous test detonates either by fuse or by initiative (i.e. a mine). The tent fabric is leveled (even as the poles still stand because the overpressure is distributed along a narrow surface area), the campers closest to the blast (or who are perhaps sitting upright or standing) sustain primary blast injuries equivalent to being hit by a car, and the remaining group suffer BINT effects including ruptured ear drums (the explosion litters the area with metal shards later found by the searchers). Everyone in the group is now permanently deaf, the night is dark, and snow is blowing. The BINT effects have hindered everyone’s ability to think clearly, so initially there is a confused urge to simply get away from whatever it was that just happened to them. They cannot communicate except by hand gestures, but even that is tough in the dark. They can’t find the exit to the downed tent, so someone just cuts their way out not thinking about the consequences of such a decision. They gather the wounded and begin to move away from the tent, as the BINT-addled minds equate the location with the experience they don’t want to repeat. As they descend the slope toward the trees. They struggle to communicate, but the clarity that eludes them on what happened is sadly replaced by a series of shock-panic events that fragment the group. Two guys get in a fight (actually not unheard of when a person of aggressive temperament is hurt badly, especially if they don’t understand what happened to them), and the rest of the group does their best to start a fire, but the injuries are painful and difficult to treat with no supplies.

    The rest of the event unfolds as you’d expect. Confusion reigns in the dark and folks do what they can to help each other, but the shelter constructed in the ravine for the wounded offers them no help as their internal injuries begin to kill them slowly. The remainder of the deafened crew stumbles about looking for the tent, climbing a tree to locate it, and one-by-one the remaining 5 expire from the elements.

    The tongue and eyes are removed by scavenging animals (don’t pay too close attention to the blood in the stomach as an indicator she was alive when the tongue was removed, as the primary blast injuries could easily account for that), and the rest is history.

    1. If there were a blast, surely the others camping nearby would have heard it.The report was that 2 men went outside to relieve themselves.They possibly saw something and warned the others.They then cut themselves out of the tent.If their eardrums were shattered, wouldn’t they be traumatized,and rendered helpless? The lead detective was forced to say:unknown forces,killed the hikers.

      1. On the subject of hearing the explosion, it is entirely possible that the wind and snow suppressed the sound. It’s remarkable how snow fall absorbs sound, and if it was as windy as can be in a Russian winter, the sound travel would be very limited. The size of the explosion would not have to be gigantic. Even a hand grenade or RPG detonation overhead is more than enough concussion to inflict those types of injuries. The tent being flattened, the campers cutting themselves out, and the metal fragments strewn about the area as noted by the searchers all combine to support the explosion theory. It is further supported by the strange way in which the investigation unfolded. The Soviets would have no reluctance to cover up a mishap like that, and the lead investigator would have no choice but to repress the findings accordingly. Having seen the concussive effects of explosions on people and the aftermath of those injuries, I recognize their behavior right off the bat. I conclude these kids were victims of some sort of military mishap and the subsequent cover up.

      2. The military men & other hikers saw glowing orange orbs BEFORE the hikers were killed.Two military men ,maybe part of the search group reportedly saw likeness of themselves coming down the mt. as they were going up.I think one killed himself ,the other went mad. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin,believed UFO forces killed the hikers and kept logs on the incident.He was killed in a crash that people who witnessed it saw a UFO strike his plane.One thing IS for SURE,Russia knows this wasn’t the U.S.A.

      3. Just do a Google search of the scrap metal the searchers found at Dyatlov Pass. There are some photos of the metal on Google, as well. The Soviets would have been more than happy to blame the deaths on UFOs, as that was Stalin’s favorite psyops tool against the West.

    2. the footprints leading down to the Cedar Tree show 9 orderly sets with neither indication of confusion nor of anyone,not a single person, being helped ,and every pathologist ,even the one deliberately brought in to establish the preestablished conclusion of avalanche ( thus finding very unprofessionally that Lyuda and Semyon might post injury have had some movement) accepted that Tibos head injury would have prevented him from further activity. Besides,a tent pole is still standing at the tent,there are 4 sets of likely combat injuries inc Zinas likely toothmark 3 finger right hand ,also Rustem,Dyatlov and Krishony…making it a much larger ” fight”,and some authors have certainly stated that there were no autopsy telltale signs of blast injuries( Svetlana Oss-Dont Go there) slightly challenged by McCloskey who accepts that theres no blast damage in the Cedar Tree or ravine area……Furthermore,why would blast injuries incline people to climb the Cedar Tree and hang on so grimly that they left their skin embedded in the bark…? The best evidence imo indicates they were killed after a struggle with a murderous flesh and blood opponent who was able to inflict extraordinary injuries on S and L either by jumping or by huge strength…forensic opinion on severe injuries without bruising ought to enable us to determine which

      1. Well I can see your mind is made up! Lol

        That’s the thing with a cover up in the erstwhile Soviet Union, they’re going to get the autopsies to take a different turn. I do not see the murderous flesh and blood opponent angle whatsoever, unless you’re thinking of snow troops armed with small Billy clubs that somehow don’t leave footprints in the snow. The orderly retreat is absolutely what blast injured folks would likely do in the dark as they would cling to each other and make their way along lines of drift. But hey, you are entitled to your opinion and I’m not trying to persuade you off of your view. I’m just chiming in that I’ve seen this played out in different situations before. How do you account for the metal debris the searchers noted?

      2. The fact some were scarced enough to climb a tree,so harshly to leave their skin is frightening.If it was pitch black,what humanly person could seek them out?That not one escaped is unnerving.I think unknown forces(UFO/ALIENS) killed the hikers.How many of the family,rescuers,officals are still alive.Are the people in Russia,today still seeking answers today?

      3. LYNK There are regular conferences in Russia – i believe author Keith McCloskey who is heading for his 3nd book on this attended the last one in Yeklaterinburg where the groups photos were fully reviewed to include some new work but like so much in this case again with few obvious conclusions as indeed some of the photo “depictions” could have simply been damage. Have a look on his website at these fascinating ” images.” Keith is currently involved in work which examines the tent fabric which may or may not help with analysis of the knife cuts etc ( as you may know the Finnish knives were found put away in the tent/Oss disagrees with Ivanov over the whereabouts of Krivonishenkos knife//several had pen-knives)…. the skin embedded in the Cedar Tree as well as Rustems ice-bed argue against the sanitisation of the entire crime scene at least ,whilst of course the tent area was evidentially compromised because most ist responders expected to find the group alive so blundered on in/however there is one witness ,Koptelov, who did describe that the group had gathered together and stood for a little while at least in a line outside the tent.The Cedar Tree scene was very compacted as you will know whilst of course the ravine area was completely snowed under,but had people been on skis any indications of their presence would have long since been blown away. The ist pathologist Alexseevitch was examined by Ivanov at the end of May 1959 and stated re Tibos wounds that he would have been immediately unconscious and that Lyuda would have been dead within 20 mins of her trauma at the outside….. Coroner Tumanov investigated all the reports in 2010 and determined that only Dyatlov had in fact died from freezing but didnt interfere with the main findings of no tissue damage from core wounds of L S or T or indeed their likely condition or life expectancy nor find any evidence of suppression ,whilst indeed Ivanov wrote in an apology in the Way of Lenin that he did in fact like you believe UFOs were responsible and had indeed singled out L S and T to whose families he specifically apologised. However livor mortis,just to complicate things further,revealed that Zina,Dyatlov and Doroshenko had all been moved out of position after death whilst Ivanov stated in his glasnost article above where he felt finally able to open up that none of his data placed the site anywhere near a military test area…….

      4. I interpret the tree evidence not as an escape measure, rather an attempt to gather the driest branches available to start a fire. The higher the branch, the lower the water content especially in winter. Additively, I expect there may have been an element of looking for a bearing to their cache, which would have been their only hope. We know that they got a small fire lit at the base of the tree, so the firewood explanation follows.

        Again, believe the UFOs if you want. I know you won’t want to budge because of the logical implications. But to me, jumping to an extra terrestrial explanation despite the physical evidence for the explosion (metal chunks, etc. ) seems a bit too far. The resulting cover up also explains that the Soviets had a vested interest in controlling the outcome–and they closed the area to civilians for years afterward. They wouldn’t do that for a UFO threat–it’s obviously themselves they are trying to protect.

      5. I thought skin was embedded in the tree. Someone climbed a tree to get dryer leaves?One guy on the tree was SO scared he bit his hand,and had his skin down his throat.They were all standing in a row,why? Russia SCARED me as a kid,this incident SCARES me as a adult.WHAT happened to these young people?

      6. They were all experienced and professional hikers and campers and as the photographic details and diaries establish had a strong esprit de corps so submit the standing in a line either reflects a scared but still disciplined group having made a conscious decision to quickly leave or as Svetlana Oss contends had been held up a gunpoint by (Khanty) hunters( not Mansi) who may have placed a teargas type substance inside the tent to get them out.In any event they seemed not to be overly-panicking or to be completely bewildered.Svetlanas argument that under duress they( or the 7 who may have been there at that time/2 sets of footprints appeared to have joined the 7 initial sets some distance out from departure) were made to discard clothing is strengthened by her claim of the finding that Dyatlov left a waterproof( tarpaulin), tent slippers and a jacket outside the tent.In any event if we believe the autopsies and the footprints all 9 were relatively unharmed as they headed to the Cedar Tree area though can it be ruled out that something didnt happen as they were descending and did the group even separate at this stage? I agree with you that fear of something imo on the ground kept them up that tree from where they may have hoped also as well as getting wood to be able to see back to the tent depending on the light reflected from the snow surface and it does appear that D and K burn marks may well have been caused by falling into the fire.Could hunters have made them this afraid,native non Russian-speaking hunters who ” knew enough about forensics etc not to use their rifles and so keep their identity secret” any hint of which would have emboldened resistance whilst Semyon in particular was a tough Russian war hero who isnt easily going to be held down so someone can jump on his ribcage. .To accept this one would also have to believe that Lyudas more flexible ribs as a young woman were broken without bruising by someone jumping on her… (( Svetlana is seeking to introduce more forensic analysis into her claims))
        If forensic study doesnt uphold Svetlana if we believe the evidence we are left with lightening strike(s) with ball lightening at the tent( another topic) ,UFO or animal attack…….
        Were they being stalked by an animal from the treeline this might explain 1) why they had gathered no wood for their heater 2) their unusual choice of campsite 3) the horizontal cuts in the tent allowing them to look out…one could even ask what other purpose could there have been there for these cuts ?

      7. I wonder how was the moon that night ,half , full? If they ran out and scattered HOW could Mansi,military,bear,wolf,yeti find ALL 9? I think they scattered and that unknow compelling force found them.If you’ve played hide & seek,you know in the cource of hiding,you’re sweating,panting in the excitement of hiding.I STILL think unearthing being sought them out, through mind reading.The fact NOT one escaped,running through the woods to their cache is MIND BLOWING.

    3. I love your explanation of this tragedy!! I’ve been searching for something more realistic than UFOs and mythic beasts! Thanks for your insight and knowledge!!

  2. what about those strange rock formations Manpupunyor. When I saw them I thought what the heck. They most likely don’t have anything to do with the story but I thought it strange that they are never mentioned. The Mansi thought they were Gods. Or something like that. I also read that Mansi were incredibly strong. I don’t believe however that they had anything to do with the tragedy.

  3. The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it won’t disappoint me as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I truly believed you’d have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you can fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

  4. Keith McCloskey and his Russian friends at the behest of the families are now well on their way towards submitting a petition to reopen the case they believe will be considered sympathetically….heres hoping they succeed

  5. I always wondered if they might have eaten bread infected with ergot, so they may have been running from monsters that existed only in their imaginations.

    1. They would be sick & running to relieve themselves.”SOMETHING “made them leave the warmth & safety of their tent.”THIS SOMETHING” somehow found ALL of them hiding in the:cold,dark night.59 years later and still no answer WHAT caused them to cut themselves out of the tent.

      1. It seems pretty clear to me that the concussive effects of an airburst munition account for all the facts in this case. There is nothing very mysterious about it at all, especially considering the Soviets’ response to the incident. The autopsies remarkably ignore the one glaring detail that no one seems to notice: the ears. The autopsy report spends a lot of attention on the sensational, but leaves out the mundane detail that reveals the cause–which is exactly what a Soviet cover-up would hinge upon. You have to really want this case to be far-out and paranormal to make it seem weird. For those who have seen these types of injuries in the real world and up close, there is no mystery to what accounts for all the facts. The old Sherlock quote simplifies the case, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth,” except that in this case the remains are not all that improbable in retrospect.

      2. The rescuer’s noticed SOME of the high up branches were scorched.One hiker had some skin from his hand down his throat.Eyes,tongue were missing from some hikers.One had a cracked skull with bone exposed.One of the women had a circular mark around her waist.These ARE things reported by the M.E. & the people on the scene.I had NEVER heard about this incident UNTIL recently & its STILL SPOOKY to me.

      3. It’s spooky as an example of what totalitarian government does to citizens, yes indeed. The Soviets killed these kids through negligence then covered it up… and their legacy continues to do so.

      4. I THOUGHT The Russian’s Government main JOB back then was to : SOCK IT TO THE U.S.A. NOT THEIR OWN PEOPLE? No one EVER talked about this,REALLY?

      5. Thanks Tim,certainly a cover up,agreed,at the height of the Cold War/cover up completely confirmed through interviews with involved still living Russian administrators and their records and Ivanovs volte-face( he opened up a bit years later during Perestroika( McCloskeys Journey to Dyatlov Pass 2016)…..Many of us dont have your understanding of airburst munitions and their possible consequences to the human body Tim tho suspecting a military test of some sort/ btw from shutter- speed calculations the lights of probably a military event from Yakimenko negatives ( on McCloskeys website) show a comparatively slow-moving event being photographed- maybe aerial mines ?….Perhaps your insights might offer something which is a better FIT here here? It would really assist if you could add some more detail PLEASE on likely correlation of injuries to blast/concussive effects ….sufficient force for the rib injuries to Lyuda and Semyon ,Tibos headwound? etc……unusual cut behind Kolevatovs left ear,bruising to hands Dyatlov himself and Rustem and Zina knuckle, grey foam Doroshenko chest, severe double head injuries Rustem ……thanks for any more insights…..

      6. I noted the following from

        “Sergey Sogrin was a student in UPI and participated in the search for for the missing tourists. “In the early 70’s I met in Pamir with I.D. Bogachev, a master of sports in mountaineering. He worked in Moscow in some secret research institute. In the evening at the fire at Iskander-Kul lake I told him the story of Dyatlov group, to which he literally replied the following: “In those years we dropped the spent rocket launchers into the uninhabited regions of the Northern Urals, and Dyatlov was the victim”. It was impossible to ask more, he worked, as they said at the time, in a “box”.”

        I also note the metal fragments found at the Dyatlov site then and now:

        It seems to a rocket variant similar to the Katushka series, perhaps larger. The R-12 was in testing at that time and went into service in March 1959, though it would be unlikely to carry conventional payloads. Honestly, there are probably two dozen types of weapons that could account for these injuries.

  6. I noted the following from

    “Sergey Sogrin was a student in UPI and participated in the search for for the missing tourists. “In the early 70’s I met in Pamir with I.D. Bogachev, a master of sports in mountaineering. He worked in Moscow in some secret research institute. In the evening at the fire at Iskander-Kul lake I told him the story of Dyatlov group, to which he literally replied the following: “In those years we dropped the spent rocket launchers into the uninhabited regions of the Northern Urals, and Dyatlov was the victim”. It was impossible to ask more, he worked, as they said at the time, in a “box”.”

    I also note the metal fragments found at the Dyatlov site then and now:

    It seems to a rocket variant similar to the Katushka series, perhaps larger. The R-12 was in testing at that time and went into service in March 1959, though it would be unlikely to carry conventional payloads. Honestly, there are probably two dozen types of weapons that could account for these injuries.

  7. a key question over this incident is whether the most seriously injured could have walked to the CT area unassisted, which is in any event not shown in the footprints…..i wonder if anyone believes the footprints are faked.There is also some footprint evidence that the group did in fact assemble together outside the tent which strongly suggests they didnt leave in a panic…i wonder if people have ideas about this which may indicate that they were ordered away to die from cold,not necessarily by local tribespeople but by a military group which may later have trashed the tent… the medical evidence seems to suggest that Tibo Luda and Semyon were too badly injured to make that journey which peopel who have been there describe as very rough indeed esp with no boots….

  8. i believe most will agree that there is so little concrete evidence in this incident that essentially all ” solutions” are mainly inference especially when all facts can be contested, whilst different people may give different emphases to different inferences so being open-minded to everyone seems sensible BUT
    the ice-bed discovered under Rustems corpse strongly suggests to me at least that he fell and died where he was found which certainly implies that some or all of the group did leave the tent as the major narrative implies and that the entire scene has not been sanitized…..( partial sanitization possible?)There has been considerable medical evidence( of course challenged) but the consensus is that at least one would not have lived long enough to make the descent) that at least the most severely injured could not have walked unaided to the CT from the tent and the footprints suggest this didnt happen including the finding noted by Svetlana Os in her criticism of the allegations of The Discovery Channel over certain markings ( they claimed through mistranslation were signs of Bigfoot) where she is positive that the group ASSEMBLED in pairs for a brief pause outside the tent area before walking away WITHOUT obvious panic( one doesnt have to agree of course with her conclusions of local natives as culprits )…..whatever one concludes the Yakimenko negatives depict, the calculated shutter-speed suggests if just one object is shown that whatever was captured (if not negative damage) was comparatively slow-moving, way too slow e.g for a missile ,tho there is an outline apparently of a then well-known Soviet aircraft ;another report of an apparent fireball rolling down this area was made by a team of army searchers who radioed in for advice upon what to do- they stayed and werent harmed…. Theres also some evidence that certain clothing was switched from the deceased by the CT by some of the 4 found in the ravine and so,back in official narrative terms, Doroshenko and Krivonischenko found naked and shoeless died before most or all of those found in the ravine

    We are left then with 2 possible scenarios involving the Soviet Military or a Security Detail as part of that Military,scenarios which assume a military connection to the lights ,that is if the internal injuries can be explained as part of a deliberate torture by special forces possible in an elite security detail jumping on the chests of Luda and Semyon whilst Tibo received a rifle butt blow to his head , Kolevator a blow beneath the ear,Doroshenko possibly similar but lesser chest injuries to S and L,with Rustem also beaten around the head area but still walking…….

    1) Something stuck them,possibly a munitions blast from a thermobaric device released by parachute or aerial mine, as they or 7 of them at least were inside the tent badly injuring at least 5 of them…some died and clothing was exchanged, a sign surely of deliberation and not panic remaining at the tent,( why would they leave without boots and essentials if they had switched clothes) but the walking injured suspected of spying were driven out at gunpoint by Soviet Military security which didnt wish to leave behind any ballistics evidence, to die of cold . All the 8 or 9 sets of footprints inc the ones referred to by Svetlana were faked by this Military detail…..later the 4 bodies dead in the tent were taken by helicopter and buried deep in the ravine to bury the evidence and allow delayed discovery to make understanding what had happened to them more difficult in due course.This would agree with what Patruchev claimed he saw from his aircraft the day before official discovery and why his report has been apparently wiped from the records….

    2)Off-course through a slight route error, the group saw and photographed a top secret military test of a weapon which was so new that it had its own hand-picked security detail charged with removing anyone at all who gained any kind of insight into this weapon( The Urals is a highly magnetic area ideal for the testing of ist generation Direct Energy Weapons) or it may have been simply a thermobaric device or a munitions explosion) BUT THIS DIDNT KILL THEM AT THE TENT. This security detail came along within perhaps 30 mins of the lights being photographed by several members of the group which had been observed and increased suspicion….the group were forced to leave the tent to die from cold; the military then trashed the tent and kept the group under observation just as Dor and Krishony also sought to observe the tent area from the CT as they realised return would be their only chance of survival which is why 3 attempted to do this but were overcome by exhaustion and in Rustems case severe head injuries…..But experienced tough army Semyon had come through some hairy times in the war and had survived previously by digging out shelters in the snow…..

    The Security Detail came done on skiis just as Svetlana believes rough natives under the influence did to finish them off when they realised the group has survival skills

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