Young, cheerful, strong... This is how the whole world remembers the hikers of the Dyatlov group. In one of the last photos of that fateful trek: Lyuda Dubinina, Yuri Krivonischenko, Kolya Thibeaux-Brignolle and Rustem Slobodin.
In the winter of 1959, nine hikers went missing in the mountains of the Northern Urals: a fifth-year student at the Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI), group leader Igor Dyatlov, as well as Yuri Krivonischenko, Yuri Doroshenko, Rustem Slobodin, Zinaida Kolmogorova, Lyudmila Dubinina, Aleksander Kolevatov, Nikolay Thibeaux-Brignolle and Semyon Zolotarev. In 16 days, the participants of the trek had to ski in the north of the Sverdlovsk region for more than 300 km and climb two peaks of the Northern Urals. The hike belonged to the third (highest) category of difficulty.
A month later, rescuers discovered an empty tent... And within a radius of one and a half kilometers from it there were five frozen bodies. The rest of the bodies were found only in May. Almost everyone was barefoot and barely clad. Some suffered fatal injuries. According to investigators, they died on the night of February 2. But it is still not clear why the guys ran out of the tent into the bitter cold and to their death.
Dozens of different versions of the tragedy have appeared in our time: from an avalanche that covered the camp to an attack by Bigfoot, from a meeting of the hikers with fugitive prisoners to the intervention of a UFO. It would seem we have heard it all. To our surprise the authors of the book "1079" Igor Pavlov and Teddy Hadjiyska offer another dramatic theory to researchers. In their opinion, Dyatlov’s group could have died due to botched geological work.
We will not go into the details of the group’s entire expedition; Komsomolskaya Pravda talked about it in detail. We are interested in the last day of the journey, since its events, according to the authors of the version, differ from the well-known outline set out in the criminal case. Let's refresh it.
Investigators found out that the trek began on January 23 from Sverdlovsk. By January 31, the group was already skiing along the valley of the Auspiya river.
Route: Aleksey Stefanov, Teodora Hadjiyska
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From the criminal case (Resolution to close the case):
"From diary entries, sketches of the route and developed photographic films of the hikers, it can be seen that... on February 1, 1959 the hikers set a labaz in the upper reaches of Auspiya river in which they left supplies of food and all unnecessary equipment. Moving towards the valley of the fourth tributary of the Lozva river, hikers took 500-600 meters to the left and, instead of the pass formed by peaks 1079 and 880, reached the eastern slope of peak 1079."
The tent was pitched on this slope, and the searchers would find it almost a month later. The fact that the place was absolutely unsuitable for spending the night is clear even now, when you are standing on this windswept slope.
- It is logical to assume that Dyatlov did not go to the slope, but, as planned, led the group through the pass into the forest at the headwaters of the Lozva river, where he founded a camp, - Pavlov and Hadjiyska are sure, relying on the opinion of the honored traveler of Russia, master sports for sports tourism Andrey Korolev, who visited the pass more than 10 times in winter, summer and autumn: "In winter, in the mountains of the Northern Urals above the forest zone, the main danger is strong wind. The best remedy for the wind is to organize an overnight stay in the forest, especially in winter." (for more details, see the map).
- It is known that in 1959, in the Alapaevsky, Krasnouralsky, Nevyansk, Rezhevsky, Sysertsky, Kamensky districts of the Sverdlovsk region, massive searches for uranium took place, for which the Central Ural party of the Shabrovsky expedition of the First Main Geological Directorate was territorially responsible, - Igor Pavlov and Teddy Hadjiyska. - If it was necessary to use seismic exploration in the 1950s, air explosions could be used "to eliminate the large expenditure of time and material assets when drilling wells. The charges, selected experimentally, were placed at a certain height on the trees." Blasting operations could also be used if it was necessary to excavate ditches and pits.
Vladislav Karelin, a participant in the search for missing hikers, recalled that "at that time, extensive search work by geologists was taking place in the area of the hike". This is the Northern Geological Exploration Expedition under the command of Sulman, employees of Ivdellag and sappers of the 5th Railway Brigade.
But what does the Dyatlov group have to do with it? No traces of explosions were found on their bodies. The authors of the new version assure that it was all a tragic coincidence.
The hikers, according to Pavlov and Hadjiyska, set up a tent next to the very cedar tree where the bodies of Krivonischenko and Doroshenko would later be found. The place is very convenient, windproof, next to the Lozva tributary, there is plenty of firewood for the stove. The guys settled in, and were getting ready to go to bed. Then a tree fell on the tent.
- Perhaps it’s just time for it to fall, - Teddy explains to us. - It was an accident. The tree was rotten, the wind, the snow, it just fell because it was old. Dyatlov's group happened to be under it.
A massive trunk fell on the front of the tent, breaking the ribs of Dubinina and Zolotaryov. Thibeaux-Brignolle, Slobodin, Krivonischenko and Kolevatov, who were further from the entrance, were hit only by thick twigs and branches. The stove went down.
How did Dyatlov group lay in the tent. Author: Vasily Zyadik
How a tree fell on the tent (top diagram) and how the stove fell on the hikers (lower diagram). Author: Vasily Zyadik
How were the hikers injured. Scheme Teodora Hadjiyska.
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Thibeaux-Brignolle receives a severe traumatic brain injury from a blow to the right temporo-parietal region, including his shoulder. Slobodin was sleeping near the stove, and the blow threw his head onto the firewood. The stove and pipe system were torn off the guy wires. It was from them that Krivonischenko received burns. Kolevatov received a blow to the head.
Dyatlov, Kolmogorova and Doroshenko found themselves under the crown of the tree. The tent canvas softened the blows of relatively thin branches, but hikers could have received traumatic brain injuries of varying severity (more details in the diagram "How were the hikers injured").
The tent ends up under rubble. They could only get out through the gaps in the back. It was there that the least injured members of the group ended up.
Dyatlov and Doroshenko struggle to get out of the tent. Kolmogorova had to be pulled out. She has abrasions from branches on her lower back and stomach, but Zina does not pay attention to this. They need to help the others get out.
The tools were not brought into the tent the day before; there was already little room inside to sleep.
Cutting a tent from the outside is dangerous - the blade can hit those remaining under the rubble. Having broken off or cut off some of the branches, they reached the canvas. They stuck a hand with a knife into the small gap and made several cuts. Slobodin and Krivonischenko were pulled out, but four remain unconscious in the tent, under a massive trunk. The tree is too heavy to move, and the trunk cannot be cut either.
At 4 o'clock in the morning the moon rises. Some of the clothes were pulled out of the tent through tears and cuts. It is possible that those who remained alive even managed to light a fire and warm up a little. They didn’t even think about the surrounding mortal danger; all thoughts were about the need to save their friends remaining under the tree. Nobody knows that Zolotaryov, Thibeaux-Brignolle, Dubinina and Kolevatov were dead half an hour after the incident...
It is impossible to free their friends from under the rubble using their own forces. But who can help? The guys remember that yesterday they noticed planes and helicopters frequently appearing in the sky. Kolevatov even suggested that some kind of aerial photography was being conducted. Dawn will come at 7 a.m., soon after which planes may appear over the pass again. By that time they must have had climbed the slope and try to attract attention to the emergency on the ground. This is the only option for salvation.
The survivors start going up the slope. But the effect of the adrenaline rush has already ended. Fatigue, lethargy and emptiness are rapidly dawning on them. The temperature is approaching -30°C (feels even lower). One by one the guys are freezing on the slope.
At half past ten in the morning the sun rises over the pass, and soon geological aerial photography planes appear in the sky. From a plane flying over height 1079, they notice something strange on the slope. Looks like human bodies...
The terrible discovery alarmed the Ivdel authorities, geologists, the sapper commander and the local prosecutor Tempalov, who, of course, got the report about the bodies in the mountains. It was clear that the tree had fallen onto the tent, but was it from an explosion? Safety regulations were poorly observed.
Here are the memories of one of the geologists of those years:
"...Suddenly, ten meters away, explosions began, and lumps of earth and pieces of stumps flew all around me - hurtling up and crashing like a ton of bricks. I threw myself down, curled up, and thought of only one thing – not to be hurt. It turned out that the blasting men usually loaded two or three dozen stumps, then set them on fire all at the same time, and fled themselves."
The officials in Ivdel understood that the matter could end very badly for them. There was a rumor that in 1950, more than 10 soldiers burned in a fire in a military unit. The chief, Joseph Shapovalov, received 25 years, although he was not even on the premises of the unit during the fire. He was stripped of all titles and awards. It was decided to hush up this tragic matter and stage the death of the hikers as an accident, away from their place of work.
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They didn’t even have to think about the script. In 1958, the book by engineer-geodesist Grigory Fedoseev, "On the Road of Trial", was published. Many people read it then, especially hikers and geologists. Here is an excerpt from the book describing real events: "... A muddy curtain of bad weather appears on the horizon... We corral into the tent, huddled around the stove... The tent is arched from the pressure of the wind, the guy wires ring like a string. The stove went out. A snowdrift piled up heavily on the tent on the windward side, the wall bent dangerously, and soon the rope in the middle broke, unable to withstand the weight... The hanging snowdrift had already compromised a third of the tent and continued to press down, bending the crossbar. It was at that moment that a new ferocious squall hit, and the canvas wall broke in half. A mountain of snow fell on us.
- Get dressed and go out! - Lebedev orders. A scuffle begins in the twilight, no one can find their belongings, you hear curses. The wind flaps the torn sides of the tent, throwing fistfuls of snow in our faces.
The storm brings down all its wrath on us. The cold blinds the eyes and burns the nostrils. Lebedev walks ahead, the rest walk behind him, holding onto the rope. Moving almost blindly, it is difficult to get to the slope. We go at random among the small rocks, along hollows with steep slopes. Obviously, we descend down to the ravine, where there must be a forest, which means there will be a fire. We don’t dream about anything else... Only an hour later, the steepness of the descent broke, the scree and the rocks were left behind..."
Those interested in hiding the truth about the death of Dyatlov’s group had to put up a tent on the slope where they needed to lay out the corpses... According to Pavlov and Hadjiyska, everything turned out as planned. It looked plausible: an accident, an unknown elemental force... The criminal case was never completed.
- They told us if you want to live, keep quiet, - foresters Pashin and Cheglakov told their children, who, as written in the criminal case, were the first to find the tent on the slope.
The authors of the theory we present believe that both could have been participants in the staging.
The authors of the theory believe that the hikers lay in the tent in the following order: Zolotaryov, Dubinina, Thibeaux-Brignolle, Kolevatov, Slobodin, Krivonischenko, Doroshenko, Kolmogorova, Dyatlov. The tree fell from the direction of Zolotaryov. As a result he has a fracture of the 2nd-6th ribs in the right middle axillary region and blood in the chest cavity, Dubinina has fractured ribs on both sides, Thibeaux-Brignolle has a severe depressed fracture of the skull on the right with a fracture of the base of the skull.
Bulgarian forensic expert Plamen Dimitrov assures that death occurred almost immediately for all three.
- The injuries on the three bodies are united by the fact that they can be caused by blows and pressure from parts of a large tree that fell on them, - explains Dimitrov. - The pressure on Dubinina and Zolotaryov increased due to the fact that they were lying on a hard surface, Dubinina on her back, Zolotaryov on his left side. The injuries were received perimortem, the victims were alive when the tree trunk fell on them.
Undoubtedly, a number of readers will not share the assumptions of Igor Pavlov and Teddy Hadjiyska. Indeed, this version does not explain much. For example, where did the flooring of spruce branches come from, which searchers found at the bottom of the ravine next to the four dead? It is not clear how Krivonischenko ended up having a piece of skin bitten off on the phalanx of his finger? How did the stagers manage to hide their tracks? More than one person carried the tent to the slope and laid out the bodies of the dead. And, finally, if local bosses "messed up", then why did not only regional, but even officials and prosecutors at the union level hide the truth about the death? For these reasons, we are not ready to agree with this interpretation of the causes of the tragedy. But in each, even the craziest version, there is material for thought. And in this case, the very fact of searching for uranium in those places is interesting. The story of non-compliance with safety regulations during geological exploration is also interesting. Therefore, we ask our readers not to judge strictly the authors of this version, but to thank them for their research work.
You can discuss this topic on Dyatlov Pass Forum.