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  • They had cut their way out of their own tent from the inside, their personal items and

  • even a fresh meal perfectly laid out and ready to be eaten.

  • They fled in a panic, most shoeless and some without even socks, and with none of their

  • cold weather clothes despite the temperature being -13 degrees (-25C).

  • A few hundred yards away, two bodies were found.

  • Several hundred yards past them, two bodies were discovered under a tall tree clothed

  • only in underwear.

  • One of the bodies had third degree burns and a chunk of flesh from the right hand was in

  • its mouth.

  • All bodies found were covered in bruises, cuts, and scratches.

  • The rest of the bodies wouldn't be found until months later, and the shocking details only

  • deepen what is the greatest mystery to ever come out of the Soviet Union

  • Late January, 1959, and a group of nine college students and recent graduates are embarking

  • on the trip of a lifetime.

  • The group is made up of experienced hikers and skiers, but they've plotted a route that

  • no Russian had ever taken.

  • The trip would take them on a sixteen day trip across the Urals and through territory

  • of the native Mansi people.

  • It would be a grueling ordeal, exposing the group to bitterly cold temperatures and high

  • winds, but the route avoided the dangers of trying to cross mountains in winter by sticking

  • to the lowlands.

  • The trip would require great endurance, but the group of young Soviets was well-prepared

  • for the ordeal The Ural Polytechnic Institute's sports club

  • had sponsored the trip, brainchild of Igor Dyatlov, who could have no way of knowing

  • that his name would go down in infamy as he dreamt up the expedition.

  • Right before leaving however, the university administration mysteriously added a new member

  • to the expedition, Semyon Zolotaryov.

  • At thirty seven years old he was fifteen years older than most of the rest of the group.

  • A hardened World War II veteran covered in tattoos, Zolotaryov cut an imposing figure.

  • His inclusion to the trip is never explained by the university, despite suspicions that

  • Zolotaryov was actually KGB.

  • On January 23rd, the group leaves for Sverdlovsk, their jumping off point for the expedition.

  • Using personal journals and one communal journal discovered with the remains of the tent, investigators

  • are able to piece together a very detailed picture of what happened in the days leading

  • up to the mystery that would claim all their lives.

  • Photos recovered from the group's cameras painted a perfect picture of a young group

  • of happy-go-lucky college students and grads, out on a grand adventure.

  • As the group nears Sverdlovsk, Yuri Yudin has a painful flareup of sciatica.

  • The crippling pain forces him to abandon the trip, much to the group's dismay.

  • Yudin hugs his friends goodbye, having no idea he's just cheated death.

  • On January 28th, the group heads off into the mountains.

  • They are never seen alive again.

  • Eight days after the group's expected finish date, frantic family members and loved ones

  • begin calling the university and local bureau of the Communist Party.

  • Search parties are immediately sent out, assisted by local Mansi hunters.

  • Fellow students, prison guards, police, and even the Soviet military join the hunt for

  • the missing trekkers.

  • Five days later one of the search parties stumbles onto one of the greatest mysteries

  • of the 20th century.

  • The group's tent is discovered on February 26th, after following their ski tracks for

  • a full day (use photo: https://i.insider.com/602daf9f42b84000192f4188?width=700&format=jpeg&auto=webp).

  • The tent is above the tree line on a mountain the Mansi called Kholat Syakhl- or Dead Mountain.

  • It's partly buried in snow, and most mysteriously- all of the group's equipment is still neatly

  • laid out as if they had just settled in for the night.

  • Ski boots and equipment is stacked by the door to the tent, and even food is laid out

  • as if about to be eaten, completely untouched.

  • What's not found is a body.

  • Even more mysteriously, the tent has been slashed open on one side.

  • Police wonder if someone slashed their way in for some reason until a seamstress visiting

  • the police station where the tent is stored stuns investigators by pointing out that the

  • tent was cut open from the inside.

  • That would explain the missing bodies.

  • But what in the world could cause nine healthy, strong Russian hikers to slash their way out

  • of their own tent, apparently in such blind terror that they left behind all of their

  • vital cold weather clothing, including boots?

  • Further investigation of the scene revealed the trackway of the hikers as they made their

  • way to the tree line below.

  • The prints clearly show that almost all of the group had not put on their boots as they

  • fled the tent, and some were walking barefoot.

  • The prints continue for several hundred yards until they vanish at the tree line.

  • There amongst the trees, two bodies are discovered under a tall tree.

  • The bodies lay next to the remains of a small fire, and yet mysteriously they are clothed

  • only in their underwear.

  • Even stranger, twelve to fifteen feet up in the tree investigators find bits of torn skin

  • and clothing on the trunk, along with some broken branches.

  • One of the bodies has blackened fingers and third degree burns on the shin and foot.

  • Inside of the mouth is a lump of flesh bitten out off the right hand.

  • The other body has burned hair on one side of the head and is wearing a charred sock.

  • Next, investigators find two more bodies back up the slope facing the direction of the tent

  • It's clear these two were trying to make their way up back to the tent.

  • A fifth body is found a few days later, also apparently trying to get back to the tent

  • This one is found with a small fracture on the skull.

  • All of the bodies however are covered in cuts, bruises, and scratches.

  • Investigators are now assuming a homicide has taken place, yet none of the evidence

  • points to the presence of anyone not from the original group.

  • No murder weapons are found, and no signs of foul play.

  • Toxicology reports come back clean.

  • Investigators hope that the discovery of the four missing bodies may help shed light on

  • the mystery.

  • They would be wrong.

  • As the snows begin to melt, a Mansi hunter discovers the remains of a makeshift snow

  • shelter two hundred and fifty feet from the tree where the two burned bodies are found.

  • Inside the shelter is bedding made out of branches, along with black cotton sweatpants

  • missing one leg, and the left half of a woman's sweater.

  • Authorities begin to probe the snow in a search for the bodies, and soon discover the four

  • missing bodies buried under ten feet of snow on a rocky streambed.

  • One of the bodies has a head injury so severe that pieces of bone have been driven into

  • the brain.

  • Two others have crushed chests and multiple broken ribs.

  • One has a hemorrhage in the right ventricle of the heart, another is missing its lips,

  • and a third is missing the eyes, tongue, and part of the upper lip.

  • The medical examiner remarks that the injuries would be similar to what would be expected

  • if the bodies had been found at the scene of a bad car crash.

  • The bodies are also discovered to be wearing pieces of clothing removed or cut from the

  • five bodies discovered earlier, indicating these four survived longer than the five first

  • found.

  • Greatly deepening the mystery, several of these clothing items emit very high levels

  • of radiation, and a radiological expert testified that as the bodies had been exposed to running

  • water for several months, the original radiation levels must've been much higher.

  • The investigation is abruptly closed on May 28th.

  • The original intent had been to determine if a homicide had taken place, and whatever

  • happened to the group of nine, it was clear they had not been murdered.

  • At least not by anything human.

  • Independent investigations are immediately launched, with dozens of different theories

  • offered on what exactly happened to this group of seasoned hikers in great physical shape

  • up in the Ural mountains.

  • What could possibly have caused nine people to cut their way out of their own tent, flee

  • into a raging blizzard with no cold weather gear or even shoes, and then be discovered

  • with high levels of radiation, broken and mangled bodies, and third degree burns?

  • Theories fly wild and free.

  • One investigator discovers burn marks on several trees and concludes that some sort of heat

  • ray was used on the hikers.

  • He backs this conclusion up with reports from locals of having seen strange balls of light

  • in the sky in the area.

  • The very last photo in one of the group member's camera is of strange flares and streaks of

  • light against a black background- though this is common of the final photo taken with a

  • film camera.

  • The possibility that the group was attacked by a Yeti is also raised, as one of the other

  • group member's photos shows a dark, hulking figure amidst some trees.

  • Yet no tracks except for the group's are ever discovered.

  • Perhaps the Americans did it.

  • Why was 37 year old Semyon Zolotaryov attached to the expedition at the last minute by the

  • University?

  • His service record contains large gaps indicative of someone who likely was in fact working

  • for an intelligence agency such as the KGB.

  • Could the group have run afoul of CIA operatives or American mercenaries, after a deal gone

  • wrong with Zolotaryov?

  • The most popular theory however is that the group inadvertently wandered across a test

  • of a secret Soviet weapon.

  • It's believed that some sort of missile launch went wrong and rained debris down on the tent,

  • forcing the group to flee.

  • That would explain the third degree burns discovered on two of the bodies, and perhaps

  • even the presence of a potential KGB agent, perhaps attached to the group to monitor them

  • as they passed through a secret military testing site.

  • Yuri Yudin, who was forced to abandon the trip due to his sciatica, would go to his

  • death claiming that the group was removed from the tent at gunpoint and killed- either

  • by American CIA agents or the Soviet military.

  • Now however, we finally know what really happened on that fateful night in 1959.

  • In 2019 the case was reopened for investigation, and Andrei Kuryakov, a prosecutor, was put

  • in charge.

  • Using photogrammetry from the original investigation's photos of the scene, his group was able to

  • better estimate the real location of the tent several hundred feet from where it was originally

  • believed to have been located.

  • This would prove crucial to understanding what happened that night.

  • This new location placed the tent on a much steeper section of the mountain.

  • Weather reports from the night in question show that winds had been gusting at up to

  • sixty five miles per hour (105 kph), with temperatures at minus thirty degrees.

  • Photographs from the hikers show that they had cut deep into the snowpack at a right

  • angle to the slope as they pitched their tent, trying to shelter themselves from the incredibly

  • strong winds.

  • What would normally be a smart survival move would prove to be fatal.

  • The group's cutting into the snowbank had inadvertently weakened the entire snowbank.

  • As the blizzard raged, additional snow was heaped onto the structurally weakened snowbank.

  • Sometime in the evening, the snowbank gave way, and a three-foot thick slab of snow slammed

  • into the tent from above.

  • With up to a thousand pounds of snow smashing down on the skiers, immediate injuries would

  • have been severe for those in the most unfortunate locations inside the tent.

  • The incredible weight would have also prevented the group from getting to most of their gear,

  • but even more importantly the sudden shift in the snow would have triggered an instinctual

  • fear familiar to every mountaineer in the world- avalanche.

  • This would explain why the hikers cut their way out of the tent and fled into the night,

  • downhill and towards the tree line.

  • The suddenly shifting snow would have appeared to them as the beginning of an avalanche,

  • and their only hope of survival would have been amongst the trees.

  • There was simply no time to retrieve any clothing or cold weather gear.

  • The group eventually took shelter under the cedar tree where two of the bodies were discovered.

  • They built a fire, but somebody was forced to climb up the tree to find dry branches

  • nearer the top, explaining the skin and bits of clothing found on the trunk.

  • With massive wind gusts however, no fire could warm the ill-equipped group, and it would

  • not have taken long for two of them to succumb to hypothermia and die.

  • The third degree burns discovered on the body could have been from a desperate attempt to

  • get warm, or from falling over into hot coals after death.

  • The flesh discovered in one of the corpse's mouths was likely a result of delirium, the

  • individual biting savagely into his own hand.

  • The seven survivors then cut the clothes off their two dead comrades, explaining why they

  • were found in their underwear.

  • The group now split up, with three of them- likely the strongest- heading back up the

  • mountain to the tent to attempt to retrieve their cold weather gear and supplies.

  • At this point the group likely realized an avalanche was not coming, but in the driving

  • snow and dark of night, there would have been little hope of them finding their way back

  • to the tent.

  • Thus the three froze to death on the slope of the mountain, only a few hundred yards

  • from the salvation of warm clothing.

  • The other four decided to build a snow survival shelter and huddle for warmth, likely to wait

  • out the night and seek out the tent in the morning.

  • However, the group hit yet another stretch of bad luck, as the spot they picked to dig

  • lay right above a stream.

  • This particular stream doesn't freeze in winter, and instead hollows out a deep tunnel under

  • the snow and ice through which it flows.

  • As the group dug down into the snow, they accidentally breached the tunnel causing it

  • to collapse.

  • The four fell to the stream below and were buried under fifteen feet of snow, the crushing

  • weight of it causing the injuries discovered on the bodies.

  • From here, scavengers discovered the bodies and ate the various missing parts of the corpses'

  • faces.

  • This still left the mystery of the high levels of radiation though, but that too could be

  • solved with some background info on the skiers themselves.

  • One of the hikers had actually worked at the site of the world's third worst nuclear accident,

  • the Mayak nuclear complex.

  • An explosion of radioactive waste had spread a plume 200 miles north into the east Urals.

  • This hiker had even helped with the cleanup, and one of the other hikers lived in a village

  • inside the contaminated zone itself.

  • High levels of radioactivity would thus be likely amongst the personal clothing of both

  • these individuals.

  • The explanation has not satisfied everyone, but to date remains the most realistic and

  • plausible explanation of what happened to the nine hikers on that fateful night in the

  • Urals.

  • Ultimately, the only people who know the truth tragically died in the prime of their lives,

  • and if the Soviet government was truly involved then they've kept the secret of their deaths

  • for sixty years.

They had cut their way out of their own tent from the inside, their personal items and

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B1 tent group discovered tree clothing missing

Is Dyatlov Pass Mystery Finally Solved

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    Summer posted on 2021/06/30
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