is for...Dyatlov Pass Incident/Accident
In the winter of 1959, a group set out on a ski-trek into the Ural Mountains, led by Igor Dyatlov. There were ten people in the party, two of them women. Most were students in their twenties, but one man was in his thirties.
One of the members of the party left early due to being sick. He was the only survivor of what was to occur on the night of February 1.
|By Group of ski hikers led by Igor Dyatlov|
("Mysterious Deaths of 9 Skiers Still Unresolved")
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This photo was found on a roll of film in their tent.
From journal entries and photos left behind, it is thought they settled here at about 5 PM to set up camp. At about 7 PM it is thought they had dinner. Some settled down for bed afterwards. It's unknown if all did.
At about 10:30 PM, the group burst from their tent, tearing it from the inside out. They fled toward the forest, wearing varying degrees of clothing in the -18 degree weather. Some socks, some bare feet, some one shoe.
It's what happened in those final hours that intrigues people all these years later. When they failed to show up, rescue missions were sent out. They did come upon the campsite, finding the tent partially covered in snow, torn in multiple places from the inside out, and footprints leading away from the tent. It has been disputed whether there were 8 sets of footprints or 9, leading experts to wonder if anyone was wounded at the time of exiting the tent.
|By Soviet investigators ("Mysterious Deaths of 9 Skiers Still Unresolved")|
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
This was the tent as found by rescuers.
The closest bodies found to the tent appear to have been crawling back toward it from the tree, possibly hoping to retrieve their clothing and shelter in their desperation to defeat the cold. The closest to the tent, Zinaida K., made it 630 meters from the tree in the direction of the tent. The other two, Rustem S. and Igor D., made it 300 and 480 meters before also perishing of hypothermia. Interesting to note is that Igor was found with a branch in one hand and the other protecting his face. He was laying on his back. He sustained no injuries, nor did any of the others who died of hypothermia, save Rustem, who had a minor skull fracture that was not thought to be fatal. The state of undress of these three was not documented, for some reason.
The final four members of the expedition were not discovered until the spring thaw occurred. They were huddled together in a ravine 75 meters into the forest from the cedar tree. These are the only members who were seriously injured, three of them fatally. Nicolas T. suffered a severely crushed skull. Alexander Z. had broken ribs. Lyudmila D. had broken ribs, one of which had punctured her heart, and her tongue had been pulled out by the root, possibly accompanied by part of the lining of her oral cavity. She was lying backward, head pulled back, mouth wide open. Likely the last to die, Alexander K. died of hypothermia, and had no other injuries. Trace radiation was found on Lyudmila's and Alexander's clothing, though some stories reported that they all had high levels of radiation.
The three with fatal injuries had more clothing on than the others, including a fur coat. It is thought they took clothing from their dead counterparts under the tree, but it is unknown whether they just happened to have grabbed those items of clothing in the tent as they ran, or if they were pulled off the others. Some showed cuts that would indicate they were cut off the dead bodies of the others.
The kicker is that even those with severe internal injuries had no external injuries. There was no bruising, no major scratches, nothing. A medical examiner said the force required to cause the head and rib injuries would have been that of a collision with a car. Some relatives reported that their loved ones had grey hair at their funerals, and that they had a deep brown or orange tan.
One of the officials in charge of the investigation came out decades later to say that he was told to close the case, and that all files were stored as Top Secret until recently.
Theories as to what happened are numerous, but each raises further questions:
1. A small avalanche hit the tent and they dug their way out and ran. This might explain the injuries, though at least two of them wouldn't have made it alive to the cedar tree after those injuries were received, let alone into the ravine after the others had already perished. Questions raised by this are why they wouldn't try to pull the tent out to get their clothing and make new shelter, as well as why there wasn't obvious evidence of an avalanche.
2. They feared an avalanche was coming, possibly because they heard rumbling, and ran for their lives. But why wouldn't they have realized in a shorter time that it hadn't happened and gone back to the tent?
3. Yeti/Abominable Snowman. There are tons of reports in the Ural Mountains of Yeti. However, there were no animal tracks found.
4. Mansi Warriors. There were tribal peoples in the region, and it was considered that they may have attacked the trekkers for being on sacred land. However, this area was not considered sacred, none of them had injuries that would be received in a fight, and there were no additional footprints. Plus, the Mansi assisted in the search mission.
5. Strange orange lights were seen that night by others camping nearby, as well as people in a village. Two theories have come from these lights. The first is that they were extraterrestrial in nature. Aliens.
6. The second theory concerning the lights is that the Soviets were conducting military testing of some sort, and that these people had stumbled onto it and been made to pay. Scrap metal was found in the region years later, possibly validating this. But, again, most of the group died of hypothermia and ran from something in fear; they suffered no external injuries. One suggestion is that the testing was on a sonic weapon, which would have put out a sound at such a frequency as to cause panic and paranoia.
7. Hypothermia in the tent caused them to strip and suffer paranoia. One of the symptoms of hypothermia is paradoxical undressing. But then what happened to their injured counterparts? If they were hurt falling into the ravine, why were there no external injuries, and how did they find each other again? I just threw this out there, but I didn't see it in any reports or articles.
8. A curse. There's said to be a Mansi myth that nine of their tribesmen had been killed by supernatural forces in that same spot. This has not been confirmed.
9. I'm curious why no one considered it might be a winged creature...?
|The campers saying goodbye to their sick friend the day he left. |
By Group of ski hikers led by Igor Dyatlov ("Mysterious Deaths of 9 Skiers Still Unresolved") [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
The questions that need to be answered are: What made them leave the tent in the first place? Why were they at all unclothed in the first place? Why did they not go back to the tent? Why did they separate again? What caused the injuries on those found in the ravine (minus the one)? Why did the government cover up the investigation for several decades?
What theory do you favor? Or can you think of a different reason for all of this?
May you find your Muse.