Search part that
discovered victims of the Dyatlov Pass incident is largely
forgotten and overlooked. We can not overlook their selfless act
of bravery in the attempt to find their friends and bring them
home, dead or alive.
Search group. 2 Mansi on the left
of the Dyatlov Group
Participants of the search
Efimovich Slobtsov or Slobcov
Vladislav Georgievich Karelin
Georgy Vladimirovich Atmanaki (Died in Caucasian mountains
on August 15, 1962)
Initially, the officials were hesitant to sound an alarm
about tourists disappearances in the Dyatlov Pass when
they missed the day they were supposed to call and
report their arrival at Vizhay. Blinov Group that was mentioned in the
Dyatlov diary on January 24th returned in the middle of February and reported a heavy snowstorm in the area of the Kholat Syakhl and future Dyatlov Pass. In light of this information, it was assumed that tourists are spending these extra days somewhere in the safety
near Dyatlov Pass. Risking lives to make extra miles do get back at the due date made no sense. Head of sport club of UPI, Lev Semenovich Gordo, even lied about receiving a telegram from
Igor Dyatlov about the delay to calm parents of Dubinina and Kolevatov. He assumed that in few days the group of Igor Dyatlov is going to make it anyway.
Relatives eventually forced to organize a search party by complaining to the local head of the Communist party. Negative publicity was unwanted and actions had to be taken. The head of the military department of UPI, Colonel Georgy Semenovich Ortyukov, took charge of search and rescue party. Many of students volunteered to find look for their lost friends. Several rescue parties were sent to the region on 21st of February. One of these groups were headed by Blinov and another
by Sogrin. Both groups just returned from their trips
and knew the conditions of the region. Another group
headed by Vladislav Karelin was in the area and joined the search effort. Planes took off from Ivdel airport to search for the group from the air.
On February 22nd several prison guards from the IvdelLAG under
the leadership of captain A.A. Chernischev and another
seven officers of MVD (cops) under command of
lieutenant Potapov have joined the search in the Dyatlov Pass. Another three groups were formed in UPI from student volunteers under
the leadership of Oleg Grebennik, Moises Akselrod and Boris Slobcov. Additionally, local
four Mansi hunters (for a total fee of 500 rubles) were
hired to help and look for the vanished group. Moscow sent several specialists including E.P. Maslenikov, Baskin, Bardin and Schulzhenko.
On February 23rd group of Boris Slobcov was dropped near mount Otorten, a final destination for Dyatlov
Group. First tracks of sports skis were discovered. A
place was found that was probably used by the Dyatlov
Group for overnight camp.
The next day on February 24th they reached the mountain and came to
a conclusion that tourists never made it this far. Students did not find any records, flags or anything else that would indicate recent visit of a group.
A search party was extended by a radio operator who
traveled to the region on a reindeer sled and small
plane that vegan to scout the area for any survivors.
On February 25th Boris Slobcov and his group discovered the trail of skis that he assumed to be that of Dyatlov
The next day on February 26th
a search group discovered the tent on the slope of Kholat Syakhl in the Dyatlov Pass. Ironically Slobcov was among those who actually helped to construct the tent three years earlier from two tents, making it longer and larger. He recognized it immediately.
First bodies of Dyatlov
Several members started cooking dinner while every one else attempted to find clues about the direction of future searches. They found 710 rubles and railroad tickets for the whole group. Most took this as a sign of a good omen. They assumed that criminals were not involved since they would steal everything of value. During dinner Boris Slobcov raised a toast for the health of his friends and expressed hope that they will be found soon. One of the locals, Ivan Paschin, was less optimistic about prospects of finding everyone alive and suggested that they should probably drink for the dead rather than the living. It was a big mistake. Students took these words as offensive and almost beat up the local for his pessimism. Still no one could believe in the possibility that that group of young women and men can simply perish like that in Siberian Taiga.
Recieved by Temnikov
№1712 sl 27/2
Immediately. Soon after we descended we discovered four corpses of
Dyatlov Zolotarev Krivanischenko Kolmogorov. The victims were thrown
out of the tent by a hurricane, some without boots or pants. The
hurricane blew in the North- east, East direction so they are all on
the same line from the tent. The farthest body was found about two
kilometers from the tents. In the mouth of the creek which flows
into the Lozvy river we found remains of a fire with several charred
logs. Nearest (to the tent) Kolmogorova has a broken head.
Examination will continue tomorrow. We will set up a camp (in the
valley of river) Auspii so we won't disturb the traces of the
accident. We tried to contact Axelrod, but they didn't respond. I
think they should contact us.
The next morning Yury Koptelov and Michael Scharavin went to look for a new place for a campsite. They explored the valley of the Lozva river when a tall cedar attracted their attention. A fairly even and large area near this cedar could provide the search party a better view of the mountain and surrounding locations. Both men approached the cedar and stopped. Two bodies lay in the snow and remains of the fire were visible near by. Bodies were carefully laid side by side. Snow wasn't very deep in this location due to constant blow of the wind so it became very clear that they found two bodies of the missing group. The first thing that stroke the searching group was the cloths of the dead. They had no shoes and were almost completely naked. Some theories later will blame this on "paradoxical undressing", but we will see later that it had nothing to do with the mental condition of the tourists. Prosecutor of Ivdel, Vasily Ivanovich Tempalov, discovered another body just 400 meters from the cedar. The body of a man laid on the back with his head pointing in the direction of the tent. Students quickly recognized Igor Dyatlov, the head of the group. Mansi hunters with their dogs started to explore the mountain side and quickly discovered the body of Kholmogorova about 500 meters from Dyatlov. The position of her body pointed in the direction of the tent.Dyatlov and Kholmogorova bodies were on the same line between cedar and a tent. It became evident that both tourists actually tried to make way from the tall cedar back to the tent, but didn't make it all the way.
Cedar Tree is a key marker in the Dyatlov
Pass Incident. It was a major feature at the border
where the forest ended. It is hard to say if members of
the Dyatlov Pass intentionally headed for this tree.
However one is known. They tried to start a fire at its
base. They also managed to climbed it and using the
weight of their body broke several branches as high as 5
meters above ground. Many analysts pointed out that
there was plenty of dry wood in the area surrounding the
cedar. But we should take in consideration that it was
dark and visibility was low. They simply couldn't see
too far. One is certain, however, the fire burned for 1-
1.5 hours. The cedar tree of the Dyatlov Pass has become
a symbol of its own. It still grow and attracts everyone
who is interested in the mystery of the Dyatlov Pass
Two Bodies under Cedar under Dyatlov Pass. Still unidentified
Bodies of Yuri Krivonishenko and Yuri Doroshenko on the left.
Yuri Doroshenko was first identified as Zolotarev. Both men were
tall and athletic. On the right are remains of the extinguished fire and a cedar that according to some tourists is still there. Although it is hard to find the exact location today.
Igor Dyatlov (as he was found on the left and cleared snow on the right) climbing Dyatlov Pass
Zina Kholmogorova made it farthest to the tent
Meanwhile the contents of the tent from the Dyatlov group were removed. This happened chaotically, without any order, photos or even presence of anyone from the law. Students simply removed the objects and attempted to organize belongings by name. We can understand their honest desire to return these things to families of the dead, however in doing so they undermined any research in this area. We have only few testimonies from the people who undertook these actions. Some of them were conflicting and thus more confusing. They discovered that the group was apparently was about to have their dinner.
A self made newspaper "Evening Otorten" was also found here. The date was marked as 1st February 1959. One of the unusual and unexpected findings was a skiing pole that with clear cutting marks. Tourists didn't have any extra poles. It is unclear why someone in the right mind would damage the pole on purpose. Among other things tourists also left their footwear. Many had two pairs, one for the actual hike and another, softer one, were used in the tent to keep warm at night. Both pairs were found abandoned. This could be explained that whatever forced them out of the tent came in the time then everyone was changing and preparing for a sleep. Additionally the tent contained several knives and hatchets. These were abandoned too for some reason, although some tourists had knives with them when they left.
Next week of search did not yield any results.
The only thing that was discovered was another Chinese flash light in the valley of Lozva valley. The batteries were dead, but the flash light was in "on" position. On March 2nd three students and two Mansi hunters discovered a camp base
"labaz" in the Auspiya valley. Tourists left some of their food provision and gear to lighten the load (55 kg in total). Additionally there was mandolin of Rustem Slobodin, few clothes, ski shoes and a pair of skis. On the way back tourists intended to retrieve these things. None of these things were taken however.
On March 3rd many of the students left Dyatlov Pass to return home, since they had to return to their studies. Moscow specialists also left. Their report is somewhat short and inconclusive. They could not explain the reason why would several normal people would abandon the tent in the middle of the night without shoes and little protection from the wind.
Left: digging around the tent, Dyatlov Pass at the background Right: Michael Sharavin (left), Vladimir Strelnikov, Boris Slobcov, Vyacheslav Chalizov (right holding a map) Photo by V. Brusnicin (25th February 1959)
On March 5th the body of Rustem Slobodin was recovered at the Dyatlov Pass. He was discovered on the same general line from a cedar to a tent. His position was in between bodies of Dyatlov (180 meters away) and Kholmogorova (150 meters). He was the only member of the group that fell while fairly warm. The head from his body melted the snow that subsequently froze forming a frozen bed underneath the dead body. His watches recorded 8:45.
The cedar had its lower branches cut. Later inspection showed that part of human skin and blood was still lodged in the bark crevices. Bodies of both tourists were laying side by side near an extinguished fire. Part of their clothes were carefully cut off. Pants of Yuri Krivonishenko were left in place. They showed certain degree of radioactivity.
On 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 up everyone. We watched this orb (or a disk) for about 20 minutes until it didn't disappear behind the mountain. We saw it in the South- East direction from our tent. It was moving in the Northern direction. This event freaked everyone. We were sure that this event was somehow involved in the death of the Dyatlov group".
Meanwhile the search for remaining four bodies continued. Few search party participants held much optimism about their fate.
It was alleged that several scientists came to the slopes of the Kholat Syakhl
and Dyatlov Pass with a Geiger counter to look for
radiation. Since Krivonischenko had his clothes missing it was assumed that his sweater along with this pants were contaminated with radiation. Looking for a source of radiation could theoretically help them discover remaining bodies. However the question remains who could have tipped them off about possible presence of radiation at the Dyatlov Pass.
Another question is the timing. While some witnesses claim that the
scientists came before the last four bodies were discovered, other
claim that they came after the bodies were found to sweep the area
to look for any source of the radiation.
Unfortunately it wasn't until May of the same year when last four bodies were discovered. The discovery raised more questions about the fate of the tourist group. Last remaining skiers managed to dig a den in the snow to keep themselves warm. These bodies had broken ribs, broken skull and in case of Lyudmila Dubinina a missing tongue. They were better dressed than the rest of the group and their deaths were clearly not caused by a hypothermia.
In early May, the snow began to melt rapidly and allowed to find
items, which showed the correct direction for the search team. A
trail of plucked pine branches and scraps of clothing led the search
to the hollow stream. Excavation in a valley allowed to find remains
of the den that Dyatlov group have constructed at a depth of 2.5
meters. They laid the floor of the Den with 14 peacks of small firs
and one of birch. A total area of the floor was about 3 m² . On
the floor lay a few pieces of clothing. The position of objects on
the floor showed four spots made as "seats" for four people.
Judging by the type of helicopters and their markings there were at least three machines involved in search and rescue efforts at the Dyatlov Pass. This included at least one civilian (bottom left picture) and at least two military helicopters. Soviet Union rarely showed so much dedication in search of common tourists. Some explain this care as ties to KGB of one or more members from the Dyatlov group. However another explanation might lie in the fact that climb of Mount Otorten was devoted to Communist Congress in Moscow. Obviously it had certain degree of political motivation for the officials to spare no costs in searches.
Dyatlov Pass Incident was
officially closed. No guilty party were discovered. Cause of death:
overwhelming natural forces. Whatever that means.
Given the lack of
external injuries on corpses and signs of a struggle, all personal
items of the group present, as well as taking into account the
opinion of a forensic medical examination report on the reasons for
the death of travelers, it must be assumed that the cause of death
of the tourists was a force of nature, that the tourists were unable
to overcome" .
- Decision to dismiss a criminal case (Criminal Investigation, page