The Dyatlov Pass Incident- addendum

The Dyatlov Pass Incident, part 1
The Dyatlov Pass Incident, part 2

Since researching and writing the posts on the Dyatlov Pass incident I haven’t been able to put the incident out of my mind for long.

Recently I’ve been mulling over a new theory I’ve had. However, I’ve been unable to satisfactory explain everything that happened on that fateful night, more specifically the tent…
Here goes:
Theory: meteor/ meteors.
Potential scenario:
Group is in/ around tent. Someone sees a meteor/ they hear a bang, tent is evacuated for unknown reason. Camera snaps photo using a filter designed for shooting under bright conditions.
Meteors are bright. The one that hit Chelyabinsk in 2013 was, at its brightest, 30 times brighter than the sun.
It actually caused severe burns to people’s skins and retinas, which also fits with the Dyatlov incident, as the bodies were very tanned.
Does the last photo taken by the Dyatlov group picture a rushed attempt at photographing a crashing meteor?

The last photo taken by the Dyatlov group
The Chelyabinsk meteor caught on camera

Suppose this is what the last photo is. A meteor crashing a ways from the group.
Suppose that the reason the group hastily cut their way out of the tent was that one or several group members outside feared the meteor would hit the tent and yelled for everybody to get outside fast. Something may have been blocking the regular exit, possibly the stove they had brought along, leaving the group with no other option but to slash their way out, as time was of the essence.

Suppose after the first meteor hit, the group sees another incoming bolide. They take off running, but get separated into two groups. One of the groups is unlucky enough to be close to the meteor as it explodes.
The injuries of the last four found, Dubinina, Zolotarev, Thibeaux- Brignolle and Kolevatov, were so severe, so violent that the coroner performing the autopsy claimed that their injuries could not have been caused by a fall. The force with which they were hit could be compared to being hit by a speeding car.
I also found a loooooong wonderful article written in Portuguese, which I don’t speak, but with a little “help” from google translate I was able to find another statement from said coroner:
The injuries the last four bodies found had suffered were consistent with those caused by the blast wave of an explosion.

Suppose now that those of the group not hit by the explosion (Dyatlov, Kolmogorova, Doroshenko, Krivonishenko and Slobodin) find the others who are critically injured. They start trying to help them. They give the injured most of the clothes, they try to find branches and things to place under them to keep them away from the direct snow/ running water of the creek in the ravine where the bodies were later found. They try to make fires to keep both themselves and the injured warm, but ultimately succumbing to the cold and dying of hypothermia.

This whole scenario could actually make sense had it not been for one thing…
The tent.
I could possibly see how everyone left the tent in a hurry because of the danger of the incoming meteor, but I can’t explain why they didn’t return there afterwards to retrieve their warm clothes and other essential items.
Perhaps they were. Maybe that is where Dyatlov, Kolmogorova and Slobodin were headed when they died.

But why wait so long?
Well, maybe treating and helping the injured took so long, maybe that work was so intense there was no time to go. Maybe by the time they had set the injured up as best they could the two Yuris (Doroshenko and Krivonishenko) were exhausted and collapsed by the cedar tree, while the other three tried desperately to reach the tent.

Maybe.

Another strangeness mentioned in the Portuguese post was that the clothes of the victims had a strange, vague violet hue/ glow about them.
To very little avail I have googled potential radiation, ionized air, ozone, anything that could explain this hue.
Who knows, maybe it was phosphorus dust carried by the possible meteor? Some meteors do contain phosphorus but it doesn’t exist as a free element on Earth.

Phosphorescent jellyfish

I also tried to find any meteor strikes in the region at that time without any luck. Of course there were periodical meteor rains back then as there are today, but no information of anything big hitting the Urals.
Though, if a meteor hits a desolate place like that, who would report it?

There were plenty of observations around this time, and also during the search and rescue operation, of strange glowing orbs or rings of fire in the sky. Could these have been pieces of an asteroid, a comet etc. raining through the atmosphere?

There were also reports from a person in the search and rescue team that the tops of the trees in the area seemed burned.

To date this theory is the best theory I can come up with. It would explain a lot and it doesn’t leave too many questions unanswered.
Many things actually point to a meteor being a possibility:
the hurried escape from the tent, the running, the severe injuries of four members of the group, the mysterious lights being seen, the last photo taken by the group, the burned tree tops, the phosphorescent (or whatever it was) glow on the clothes.
There is nothing obvious that I can think of which would invalidate this theory.

Unfortunately we will probably never get a definitive answer as to what happened in the Urals in February of 1959.
I do however enjoy reading the theories that many have posted on The Dyatlov Pass Incident, part 2.
Keep them coming!

By the way, this is my 100th post on this blog 🙂

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18 thoughts on “The Dyatlov Pass Incident- addendum”

  1. Something SCARED them that they could’nt return to the tent for warm clothes. Did the other group of hikers seea meteor blast,SINCE it would light up the night sky? The four that were over-killed ,what if the being knew they were looking for them? The last photo looks like a face to me.Whose camera was it that took the picture? Why would they need night vision cameras,DID they plan on capturing something?

  2. I don’t think they had night vision cameras, instead I believe it was a filter you use when photographing bright things, like the sun, which seems strange to use at night.
    I wonder if the Mansi people, who lived nearest to this location saw or heard a meteor crash.

  3. Hi, cloaked hedgy 🙂 Thanks for the portuguese site, its really incredible in pictures I have never seen before. You theory is as good as many others but there are many things that don’t fit. People tend to lay on the ground to protect from flying objects, not run away as no one can tell where the falling rock will impact and it was obviously nowhere near the tent. The impacts on Dubinina and Zolotarev as hard as they may be, were not producen by a speeding meteorite that will actually desintegrate a person. There was no impact in the region as the results would have been enormous on the vegetation too. Think about Tungushka or Chelyabinsk.

    The last pictures from the cameras might have been taken incidentaly by the rescue teem or later in the laboratory. They are out of focus and although there is a theoretic way to focus an image knowing the lens I don’t know if it has been implemented yet.

    There are many lacking details from this case so pieces will never fit together in a coherent way, but as always the MAIN question remains: what motivated them to left the tent and never return? Thats the key so all kind of hypothesis have been created. Manti, radiation even mass hallucination for example like Donnie Eickar suggested, from infrasound waves… Hard to believe that it affected eveyone to the point of loosing their mind temporarily. And they didn’t act like zombies afterwards, however never returned to the tent. Not a convincing hypotesis. Avalanche is out of the question either.

    So I began to think as a mountaineer, just what they actually were, and the only reason to abandon a tent is because it is no longer providing a shelter from the elements. Of course, they should prepare acordingly and take supplies for the new shelter, but that was not the case! Indeed they left the tent like mad but there have not been discovered traces of any real danger outside and still they fled like a stampede without the basic protection.

    That brought me the only idea that I can’t refute: the danger was INSIDE the tent and I am almost sure it was one of them! Somehow one of them got totally mad and menaced them probably with a knife, cutting the canvas in his mindless state to show what would happen to anyone who dare getting any closer. The rest just panic and fled. They coudn’t return, the tent already had some damage and on top realized they were minutes to have frozen feet and even enter hypthermia, the only salvation resides in making a fire and a makeshift shelter in record time at tree level, both actually found later. I am sure all that didn’t have shoes had frostbitten feet when they arrived at tree level. Krivonischenko and Doroshenko tried to climb the infamous cedar with bare hands to get some branches to fuel the fire, but that just accelerate their frostbite and death, I have hard time imaging how Doroshenko climbed almost 5 meters, his hands must have been hard as rock but that was their only hope to survive and they fought till the end… They might have not been alone, another group was dealing with the braches and clothes to isolate them from the snow in the makeshift shelter.

    The rest is hard to put in order but at some point the mad one follow them, maybe still crazy or may be ralizing what he has done… only could speculated on this point. In the last act two or three of them tried to reach the now empty tent, but with heavy frostbite and exhausted from ongoing hypothermia they never did it. (even if they had no one would have survived as the rescue teams were to arrive in 24 days, in fact they were doomed the moment they went down the slope on socks in a Syberian winter). I am suspicious about one or two persons from the group and specially the only one who was found with both shoes on, was fully clothed, meaning he got the supplies in reach, just what all the others didn’t. And even his pocket knife was found in his clothes.

    That might be or might not be what happened but at least I am almost sure the danger came from inside the tent. Unless there is some other clue that we don’t know or that was even not found by the investigators and that might point to a different scenario in which case the incident simply cannot be solved.

    1. Hi and welcome!
      Yes, this case seems to truly be inexplicable, but we have a problem with that. Something DID happen and we come up with theory after theory to try and explain what might have happened. Every theory so far has had holes in it, yes, my last one too. And in the case of your theory I wonder, IF someone inside the tent went bananas for some confusing reason and started waving a knife around, cutting the tent, then how did everyone manage to avoid getting cut? Nine people in a very confined space would have a difficult time avoiding a knife-wielding maniac I think.
      Still, you’re right that they were doomed the second they ran down the slopes without shoes. As they were very experienced outdoors people they would have known that too, which I feel makes it unlikely that they were fleeing from one of their own having gone crazy. One person, even a knife wielding one, should have been able to be overpowered by the others, at least once out of the tent.
      Whatever they ran from I feel must have been something worse.
      Other than this your scenario sounds quite plausible to me. 🙂

  4. Thank you, Hedgy! Much appreciate your critique to my theory, I need to know if it pass the test. I agree that the explantion of how one person managed to scary 8 people so much without getting someone cut is a little hard but not impossible.

    First the small canvas cuts doesn’t serve a logic purpose, if I want to have a look outside I wouldn’t compromise the tent structure or if mandatory I would make a small punctured hole but not several random cuts. Its reported that there are marks in front and after each cut indicating they were done by a slash motion. Two possibilites here: the person did them to show the rest how dangerous/mad he is or he defended himself on random through the canvas from some fellow who tried to hit him from the outside through the tent wall. Finally he made the large slash opening to have direct sight of his oponent so he can’t move any closer.

    There is only one among them that probably knows how to use a knife in a fight, who have survived and seen the brutality of WW2, that might have been brutalized himself, no wonder he could have some occluded mind dissorder (thinking of recent german copilot case). There were no stable couple or wife known although seems an intelligent man speaking several lenguages. Furthermore he presented himself with a false name that might (or might not) indicates some personality problem… he was a hiking companion but the rest didn’t know him before the trip. He was in his late thirties when the rest were in the early twenties and that was an age difference in those years. Yes, I am talking about Semyon Zolotarev.

    Returning to the tent, as there is almost nothing that will make you flee a perfectly set and stable shelter in a harsh night, (in fact I would run inside rather than away from it in almost all cases) other then an avalanche or rock fall, both totally discarded, I am faced with the only possibility that the danger came from INSIDE the tent so they instantly run away with no chance to take their essential clothes and shoes. And even staying outside they couldn’t enter and take them finaly leaving the place. Therefore there was someone inside!

    If it was some of the young boys as I thought at first, he would have been their intimate friend, they would know how to deal with him or even how to overpower him. But I doubt things could go that far between young intimate friends. That doesn’t apply to Zolotarev, he was a war veteran, was the eldest and was totaly unknown to the group, confronting him was confronting the unknown. And overpowering an armed man is much more difficult than it sounds and asks for some serious training I don’t think they had. Also the conditions were far from perfect, night, cold, limited visibility, slippery snow, numb hands, no way to surprise him because of the single access… And if he was so aggressive as to make them flee, in a direct confrontation its almost impossible to avoid been wound, thats the last thing anybody wants to face in winter Urals, several days away from civilization. Furthermore, if Zolotarev was in a mad/uncontrollable state, I doubt they even thought in returning inside with him or sleep next to him.

    However the situation was, the tent was already half broken, they were young, strong, resourceful and had NO time to wait for an attitude change so searched for safety down the slope trying to make a fire and set a shelter as fast as they could. Poor Doroshenko best testifies about their survival will.. 😥

    Finally Zolotarev was found with two hats, every cloth and pants needed to fight the cold and BOTH shoes on, not surprisingly he didn’t die from hypotermia! He was the only one who had access to the tent from the moment everyone went out till the end.

    1. Interesting. 🙂
      I just wonder what your theory is on how the most severely injured members came to be that way? Including Zolotarev. I don’t mean the missing eyes and soft tissue, but the crushed rib cages and smashed skulls.

      This seems to be the problem with most theories, the explain some things but not all. And that bothers me. I just REALLY want to know. It feels like they deserve to have what happened to them known by the world.

  5. Good evening! 🙂 I also want to know, but I doubt there is anything substantial to be found 56 years later. Most theories fail to give a satisfactory explanation of the initial moment of the incident or if they do, they fail to link with the rest of the events in a logical way. Thats because there are two paradoxical phases in the incident: hikers acting first as if they were mad and in a totaly rational way just minutes later. Its hard to explain each phase and be consistent between each other. Furthermore there are too many lacking details, specificaly the timeline, so we tend to order events to fit theories instead of doing the oposite. Without a timeline I can reconstruct the events to fit mine but that is the same as presenting fantasy as proofs. Events might have happened in many different ways and end up with the same outcome. There are only two near certainties: they left the tent in haste so its reasonable to assume they did it at the same time, and at some point later Doroshenko and Krivonishenko apparently died before the rest.

    I only tried to give an explanation for the reason they fled the tent, that is of paramount importance for the incident. I disregarded on purpose any external or supernatural causes because there was no proof of their existence. And the only explanation for their weird conduct is that the hazard was inside the tent, and they felt more secure outside than inside. And if there was nobody else than the group, it must have been one of them. Zolotarev is quite obvious for me now. But the idea struck me by chance, I was thinking about the fight signs on Dyatlov and Slobodin trying to find some explanation. It doesn’t make sense for me that good friends in a desperate situation and probably on the verge of hypthermia and frozen extremities have started a fight in which Dyatlov have even found enough strength to brake his friends skull! Moreover in a last intent to reach the tent Dyatlov should have been found higher on the slope than Slobodin, but its just the oposite. So they must have fought someone else who came from the direction of the tent and obviously had no problems of cold or exhaustion, that led me to Zolotarev because the way he was found wearing full equipment.

    About the severe injuries I don’t think they are so misterious, after all there was a ravine next to the den and people fall into it on hard ice and rocks the primary cause of internal injuries. Probably Zolotarev found the rest in the den a fight ensued. I don’t want to make any guess because this is the imagination/fantasy part, we lack detailed info on the bodies, the way they were found, distance from the den, etc.. But overall the pieces fit with no major issues.

    I found strange that Zolotarev is not a suspect in modern theories that actually go delve with really fantastic suspects. But interestengly I found in this youtube documentary “Перевал Дятлова. Отчислены по случаю смерти” that certain pilot called Genadiy Patrushev conducted his own research on the incident and the one person he really suspected was no other than Zolotarev, a really a poor known subject and ill fitted in the group. Sadly Patrushev died in an air accident… on Dyatlov Pass.

    There are many problems while research online. For example, the information is scattered through many webs. There are conclusions that are presented as facts that later turn out are not so. Eg, I read that the camera found on Zolotarev body dessapeared, in another place it was not a camera but a mask, in yet another it was a camera but it desappeared misteriously, and in another one it was a camera but the film was lost due to water damage, and so on. In the end its hard to know the real facts from the personal infer… If my theory is based on such assumptions it would be also wrong. Moreover the first findings were made under a rescue operation, therefore no special care was taken to preserve proofs on the scene until it was too late. Detailed position of objects inside the tent was essential and it was never recorded.

    Right now I have found two problems about my theory, I can’t tell which one is more important. First, in the russian documentary they talked about a blanket left over the body of Doroshenko after he was stripped of his clothes, so he was already dead. Its only purpose seems to be concealing the body, but how did it appear and who left it there is a mistery.
    Second, why doesn’t Lev Ivanov come the same simple conclusion as I did, not even 30 years later? I am sure he thought about every existing possibility but why he never mentioned this one? My answer is that as he has the RAW data from the investigation, that we cannot find in the same form, he might have found something that rejected Zolotarev as a suspect. But thats only my guess. 30 years later he only spoke about the light orbes…

    Thats all I can think about, my apologize for the lenghty post! Now its your turn 🙂

  6. No need to apologize. I love hearing other’s thoughts on this and yours seem perfectly valid and reasonable.
    I’ve read about people suspecting Zolotarev and he truly is the odd man out.
    I’m still reluctant to point the finger at one in the group though, especially since Zolotarev was one of the most severely injured, but like you said, 56 years on and what hopes do we really have of actually solving this case?
    I, like you, have found inconsistencies with certain details in the reporting. I wonder if Russia has any kind of declassification system after a certain amount of time has passed, like most other countries. I do feel the Russian government/ military knows much more about this case than they are telling at the moment.
    Hopefully the truth will come out one day!

  7. The case is declassified, its on hibinaud website. You’ve got all the case there in russian, reports, interrogations, plans, but image links are broken. Its interesting there were 13 names in the initial hikers draft, but as we know four of them didn’t participate and Zolotarev was included. So Yudin was not the single lucky one!

    The Dyatlov Fundation is supposed to have all the information about the case but as far as I have read they restricted the access since 2013 because of the growing public interest…

    Zolotarevs injuries are not incompatible with him being the agressor, but at first admittedly I didn’t think of him for that same reason. Then I skipped those prejudice as we cannot take anything for granted and were restricting the possibilities. The injuries would have been a mistery if there wasn’t a ravine and he hadn’t fallen into it. Its a bit harder to explain Dubinina’s severe rib cage injuries in a 3-4 meters fall for a light person as she was, but what if someone else has fallen on top of her? Wouldn’t that be a reasonable explanation? Unfortunatelly the bad state of the last four corpses due to the flowing water prevented a deep study, any proofs or external marks been erased so far. At this point the investigation didn’t seem quite serious either, judging by the poor quality of the last few pictures. I suppose after almost three months there was an urge to close the file.

    But I still wonder why they never suspected Zolotarev so much as I do… Maybe some first hand proof we don’t know of… I have no idea.

  8. I have been very intruiged by this for some time now and to me there is only one theory which makes sense and explains why a group of highly experienced and intelligent people would make such a horrendous error of judgement – drugs.
    Hallucinogenics would explain why the group panicked and ripped their way out of their tent – destroying their only shelter. Why they ran barefoot and scattered. A jolt back to reality perhaps came when some of their group fell down a ravine and became badly injured, however they were still reluctant to return, doing so only when it was too late. Drugs explain the frantic panic followed by logical lucidity, the burns (lack of perception lying too close to the fire), potentially even the gouged eyes and missing tongue as people who are high can do some horrendous things (although I personally think the tongue was bitten off in the ravine fall and the eyes scavenged by animals). It would explain why Yurin never mentioned it – to protect the reputations of his friends. It would potentially also cast Yolotarev in a different light – perhaps as the older member of the group and not an immediate friend he did not partake and instead dressed, grabbed the compass etc and ran after the group to help them. This potentially could have resulted in him falling into the ravine with the others, or possibly being attacked by a panicked member of the group thinking they were being chased.
    Of all the theories I have read, this severe judgement impairment is the only thing which, to me, explains why they left the tent – and in such dramatic fashion. I feel a great sadness for these people and would not want to cast them in a bad light, to my knowledge no toxicology was performed at autopsy (?) and I have not read enough about their previous histories to know how likely this was – but they were young, out on a trip, all was going according to plan… Perhaps they took something which was unexpectedly strong or not what it was meant to be (what drugs were available at the time?).
    They also could have eaten something unintentionally, such as mushrooms. Some research suggests that mushrooms are abundant in the Ural mountains and mushroom picking a regular pastime (?) however in the winter perhaps these would be harder to find. Could they have eaten the wrong kind of mushroom?
    I’m interested in hearing what people think about this and to have it tested, it’s just yet another theory after all.

    1. Interesting theory.
      There has been a theory in this case called the Toxic Snow Theory which claims that perhaps the group melted contaminated snow to drink, which lead to them being disoriented and having hallucinations. Still, they seem to have behaved pretty rationally after the peculiar tent cutting incident, and also one must assume that some sort of toxicology test was performed at the autopsy, even though I haven’t been able to find the report.
      As for mushrooms, yes, had it been another season that would have been possible, but not in winter.
      Still, they could have brought something with them. I really have no idea how common recreational drug use was in Russia in those days.

    2. As a theory it might be possible, but there are some points that don’t fit.
      1) The only recreational drugs know in the URSS in the fifties were vodka and tabacco.
      2) The group has a serious sportive goal, nothing suggest they have any interest in drugs other than tabacco. Nothing suggest they have used them before the incident either. Drugs boom was in the sixties mainly in the US, but not in the Soviet Union. Mushrooms and winter doesn’t fit well although there might be some other toxic fungus around.
      3) Snow toxicity is a posibility but I don’t know of any serious toxicity that can drive people totally crazy and minutes or half an hour later act in a rational way. Drugs have long recovery period and toxicity may leave traces or damage in internal organs. Alcohol was not found in their blood
      4) In the case of a mass hallucination, members should be scattered all around the place. They were not, they were found in groups at tree level where they started a fire and began building a shelter. Members who were find alone were almost in line with that place and the tent.

  9. http://news.theparanormal.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/dyatlov-pass-ravine.jpg and https://lisaleaks.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/37a8f-dyatloff_group_595b15d.jpg

    Photos of the ravine.
    Now is that ravine steep and deep enough to have caused 4 of the group members to fall into it and caused their injuries? Some severe enough to be compared to being hit by a car.
    The bodies found in the ravine were also covered by 4 meters of snow, though the tent a short distance away was virtually as it had been the night of the incident.
    I believe it could be possible that the ravine was used as a make shift shelter and a sort of mini avalanche crashed into it, crushing those in it and causing the injuries.
    This however leaves us with another conundrum. The missing tongue and eyes. If the bodies were covered, how did scavengers get to them?
    And we’re still in the dark about what caused them to cut their way out of the tent (cuts determined to have been made by at least two individuals) in the first place.
    The tent incident is the true mystery here.

    1. The question might be what heigh needs a person to fall to brake his/her ribs? Its different for each one and it depends on the fall. From the pics and people standing inside I esteem the height to be around 2.5m to 3m. Judging from an accident in my job several years ago, a worker fell from a 2.5m high ladder on his side on a hard flat surface and had several broken ribs. But then the report states the ravine deepness at 4m. Anything over 3m is a huge fall. Todays laboral safety regulations ask for dedicated protection equipment an anyting above 2m height, meaning injury from a >2m fall is highly probable.

      The avalanche is a possibility, however the place pictured doesn’t seem too avalanche prone and if it was, as you said it should have been a mini avalanche, I doubt it have picked enough momentum to the point of crushing bodies, notice how close the line of trees is. If such an avalanche hit them I would expect them dying from asfyxiation/hypothermia rather than contusions. Even its unlikely I could not discard that possibility.

      Bear in mind that this pictures were taken 2 and a half mounths after the incident took place. Its hardly in the same state as it was at the end of january. Moreover its not the snowfall but the wind that is the primary source of snow transportation and could be much faster than the snowfall itself. The snow is normaly transported from bare land to the leeward side of the mountain or piled up into deep zones in the terrain just like the ravine. So its not that strange that a lot of snow was found there. See Bruce Temper’s ‘Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain’.

      And you are right, if we had a time machine we should look at what happened in the tent in the first few minutes. The rest is just a consequence.

  10. Any information on the stove used in the tent? What kind of fuel? Could the irrational departure from the tent be explained by some kind of fumes poisoning? Carbon dioxide or monoxide poisoning? I would imagine that any of those could cause a severe disturbance to someone’s judgement or even hallucinations. The effects of gas ‘huffing’ are well known. I was strongly warned about the possibility of harmful gases building up when I contemplated using a stove in my tent for winter camping.

    However, this doesn’t explain the unusual internal injuries with no external signs. I find those the most inexplicable part of the event.

    Although not an expert, the missing eyes/tongue/lips seem consistent with scavenger activity to me. (But why blood in the stomach? I don’t know, but losing one’s tongue is not the only reason for blood in the stomach, especially if that person also has other internal injuries.)

  11. 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.

  12. Yes, but Timothy, why then were they’re footsteps walking away from the tent clear as individuals walking, not dragging or helping one another along?

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