Yuri Koptelov recollections 2011

On the pass with Slobtsov 23.02-4.03 and Martyushev 6-17.04 groups

On the issue of the death of the Dyatlov group in February 1959

Transcript Aleksey Parunin

I am sharing my theory of the death of the group in connection with the publication of the book "The Mystery of the Death of the Dyatlov Group", written by the authors E. Buyanov and B. Slobtsov, and published in 2011 by the Ural Worker. I met Buyanov several times at various meetings and gave him interviews. However, he always adhered to the avalanche version of the cause of the group’s death.

Part 1

Dyatlov group - a target for a rocket


The group included S.A. Zolotaryov, born in 1921, who fought in the war and had four awards. In 1959, he worked as an instructor at the Kourovka camp base. He asked to go on a hike giving the reason that he did not have the qualifications of a hiking instructor.

His movements around the country were monitored by the special services, because... he worked, as a rule, near special training grounds.

It was assumed that he was a resident of foreign intelligence. When Zolotaryov got into Dyatlov’s group, they realized that he wanted to get closer to the Chistop's training ground and find out the nature of the "fireballs". The decision was made to "liquidate" him! But where, and how?! Dyatlov's group set out on the route, but the decision on liquidation was delayed.

A message came from the Plisetsk training ground (Plesetsk - ed.) that for [new] tests in the Northern Urals is needed a "living target".

When the group emerged from the forest into an open area, the pilots, while flying over the area, reported to the "center" about the location of the group. It has already become clear that hikers will be found on the pass at height 1079, approximately on February 1.

[2] In order to see the flying "fireballs", Zolotaryov persuaded Dyatlov to stop on the slope of 1079, supposedly for training, since he did not have such influence.

What happened next was something Zolotaryov could not have expected. Something terrible happened!

They went to bed, but soon someone heard a strange sound. It was growing! It was "infrasound"! It drove them crazy! Maddened people, barefoot and undressed, they ran in all directions, cutting open the tent. But outside they were overtaken by a bright flash! Whoever looked at it was blinded! And soon there was an explosion! Those who fell into the affected area of the "vacuum bomb" died immediately. Some of them were blown up in the air and thrown to the ground!

This happened at approximately 8 pm.

Blind and injured, motionless [scorched], soon frozen.

On the morning of February 2, a helicopter with a special team arrived. They made sure that everyone was dead and took them away.

They began to think about what to do next with the bodies. But the decision command was dragging.

When the public began to ask questions to the authorities, the "center" decided to fake the death of the group, i.e. "imitate".

The corpses were laid out from a helicopter where they were later found, a few days before the arrival of the "young" search group led by B. Slobtsov. The directors and screenwriters did everything so well that later many did not understand anything.

The authorities welcomed this! And supporters of the man-made cause of the group’s death had no evidence left!

- 2 -

[3] Part 2

Search for the missing group. Recollections.

At the beginning of 1959, I was a fourth-year student at the technical faculty of UPI and actively participated in weekend hikes.

Around February 18-19, a rumor spread in the tour corner that a group of hikers led by I. Dyatlov had not returned from a trek to the Northern Urals. Around the 20-21 I asked if I inquired about the search because I learned that they were actively preparing search groups. They told me that "come with your equipment on February 22, you will be a reserve".

On the morning of February 22, a group of nine people led by Boris Slobtsov formed on the second floor of the main building. A doctor present, while talking with members of the group, suggested that one of them should step down. And I got into formation.

Then we got on the bus and went to the airfield. In the evening we arrived by plane to Ivdel.

Note 1. I was not familiar with the members of the Dyatlov group.

Note 2. From Slobtsov’s group, I knew a little of Boris himself, because he went to school with my younger sister, and was still a little acquainted with Vadim Brusnitsyn. I didn't know the rest. The circumstances of the search allowed me to get to know only Mihail Sharavin well.

On February 23rd, only in the evening, we were dropped off in two helicopters in the intended search area.

Note 3. Since from Slobtsov's group, I didn’t know anyone except those mentioned above and didn’t get to know him closely, but only 50 years later I learned that two more people flew with us from Ivdel! (See page 36 "The Mystery of the Death of the Dyatlov Group". The book will be discussed below). This means that eleven of us landed. We spent the night.

[4] On the morning of the 24th we set out on the route.

February 25 we walked towards the upper reaches along the Auspiya river. While flying over the area, an airplane pilot discovered us and dropped us a canister with a message that said something like: "Set up a base camp. Tomorrow at noon, a radio operator with a walkie-talkie will catch up with you, accompanied by Mansi who are walking along your path."

Soon the group stopped on the right bank of the river, in an open place in the forest area, and began to set up a camp. There were approximately 2 km left to the pass.

February 26. I'm on duty at the camp. The remaining participants were in several groups. They dispersed to search for traces. The weather is good.

In the afternoon, a radio operator, accompanied by a Mansi, approached the camp. After some time, Slobtsov returned with Sharavin.

They reported that they had found the tent on the slope of mountain 1079, above the pass. The tent is torn. They examined it, there were no people in it. They only took the diary and alcohol.

The radio operator reported the find to the "center".

Note 4. In the book "The Mystery..." on page 43 I read the words from Slobtsov’s story: "Our path with Sharavin and the hunter Ivan lies to the pass in the valley of the Lozva river and further to the ridge from which we hoped through binoculars look at Mount Otorten. At the pass Sharavin, looking through binoculars at the eastern slope of the ridge,  saw in the snow something that looks like a collapsed tent. We decided to go up there, but without Ivan. He said that he was not feeling well and would wait for us at the pass (we realized that he just got cold feet)"

Why was Ivan afraid? He's a hunter! Moreover, a forester! So he knew where the tent was! He was afraid to give himself away!

[5] In the evening, when everyone returned, we read the diary. We drank the alcohol. We discussed all sorts of versions of what happened.

February 27. In the morning, Mihail Sharavin and I, who already knew where the tent was, had to examine the area around the tent and try to find where people could have gone.

We quickly climbed the pass (45 minutes). Behind the pass there was already the basin of the upper reaches of the Lozva river. To the left of it rose the peak of mountain 1079. To the right, the pass ridge to a height of 880. Ahead, in front of us, we could see the tent covered with snow. Behind it, about 12 km, was Mount Otorten, where the Dyatlov group intended to go.

It wasn't clear. The weather, like the day before, was wonderful. But we immediately felt a strong cold evening blowing from the west across Mount 1079. The mountainside facing us was smooth, polished by constant winds. We approached the tent. We noted that it was standing on a more or less leveled, bare place. The slope was gentle. There was firn snow all around, almost turned to ice. The skis left almost no marks.

We stood below the tent, with our backs to the wind, and began to argue that if the hikers left it urgently (maybe at night in the cold), then something extraordinary must have happened! (The cuts on the tent also indicate this)

It was certain that if people were sighted and conscious, they would never pitch [a tent] in such a place.

To the left (of us), 200 meters down the slope, there was a grove of short trees, and to the right, beyond the pass [only] 2 km, was the site of the old camp [of the Dyatlov group]. (Later the labaz was found there).

Logic told us that if people did not orient themselves in space (further illegible - note) [6] to the valley of the stream that lay in front of them. Clean, smooth, shiny.

- 3 -

So. Behind us was Mount 1079, on the slope of which much snow could not linger. The tent was an obstacle to the wind, and it blew up a little over the course of a month. Below the tent there was a fairly flat area with a slight slope and firn, almost ice. It was difficult for us to ski and stand. Neither at the tent nor further in the open space of the valley did we see anything unusual that would indicate where the people had gone.

We found footprints slightly below the tent, where the flat area turns into a steeper slope. At the edge of the area we saw 8 (eight) pairs of footprints!

First of all, it was strange that there were only eight of them!

Secondly, the paired tracks were arranged abreast!

And thirdly, the footprints were deep, as if people were standing barefoot, and the ice had melted! If people were running and not standing, the tracks would be unpaired!

There were still a few traces further, but they quickly disappear under a layer of fluffy snow. We went down the valley. The snow below us was dense. The loose snow barely covered our skis.

On the left there was a grove of short trees, about our height. We rushed in there, but the snow immediately became knee-deep. We left this zone and rolled down freely. There was nothing around that the eye could focus on. Only white, smooth snow.

After a few hundred meters we came to a steep cliff approximately 2-2.5 meters high. Low trees were visible on it, and then a tall tree. We began to climb the cliff, first in a herringbone pattern, then made steps sideways. I'm on the left, Misha is on the right. When we climbed onto a flat area and began to walk around a tall tree on the left, we saw (further illegible - ed.) [7] low trees.

Drawing by Koptelov

At the edge of the clearing stood a tall tree. In the middle of the clearing we saw traces of a fire. Two bodies lay on the ground with their heads facing each other (at right angle) near the fire. In underwear, on their back. The one who was lying barefoot towards us had a brown-red face! The nose was dark, as if bitten by nutcracker. But most importantly! Almost a month passed, and they lay on the ground only slightly dusted with snow! And there was no snow under them! This was evidenced by the position of the fire, also slightly dusted with snow. But around this clearing the snow was quite deep!

Before we had time to think, we heard the noise of helicopter rotors. A helicopter was already landing on the pass. As we began to approach, the helicopter took off and flew away. A group of people remained on the ground. We realized that they were investigators, etc. We approached them. We told them what we have found. One of them asked to show where the clearing was located (I recently learned that it was Karelin). We explained to him and advised him to follow our steps down. Then another asked me to show where the tent was. I took him to the tent. I showed how we walked and where the clearing is located. While we were climbing to the tent, a second helicopter arrived, from which soldiers with dogs, accompanied by an officer, unloaded (I don’t know where Sharavin went and what he was doing at that time).

After this, I was asked to help the soldiers find a place to set up an army tent.

I complained that I had to go down to base camp for my things. They told me that the base camp had been removed and all things were already being taken to the pass.

I showed where they could clear a place for a tent. There was not much forest here. On the left was the forest, on the right, 300-400 meters down was a river.

[8] By evening the first army tent was pitched. The news came that the Mansi had discovered Dyatlov’s corpse by sight, almost on the surface in the valley of the stream. Then the news came that the dog found Kolmogorova’s body nearby. The search for the remaining members of Dyatlov group continued on February 28, March 1 and continued after that.

On February 2 (obviously a mistake, correctly - March 2 - ed.) we (Slobtsov's group) were told in the morning that a helicopter will arrive and it would be necessary to load the bodies. The helicopter arrived. We loaded 5 bodies, but they didn’t take us.

On February 3 (March - ed.) a helicopter arrived to pick us up.

On the afternoon of March 5 we were back home.

- 4 -

Part 3

On imitations and disappearances (evidence then and now)

More than 50 years have passed, but the "case" is still classified! If the authors of the book "The Mystery of the Death of the Dyatlov Group", printed by publisher "Ural Worker" in 2011, are right, that an avalanche killed the hikers, then why keep it a secret and create versions of a crimes.

In the book, the authors "supposedly" adhere to the following rules:

A) "As long as there is no evidence, there is no substance" (p. 70)

B) "Imitation was a murder in a special way - with the manipulation of evidence and traces at the crime scene" (p. 71). And further on the same page 71: "To substantiate the version of the cleanup and imitation, various arguments and evidence were given, the essence of which was to prove the presence of strangers in the accident zone. All these "additional" facts did not stand up to scrutiny, as stated in Chapter 10."

Note 5. What did Aleksey and Ivan do in Slobtsov’s group? Weren't they strangers? (see page 43 "The Mystery...").

[9] I read on page 110 in chapter 10: "The absence of evidence only proves that there is no such thing (Note: a man-made accident) and that there is nothing to talk about." Then a question to the authors: "Why, with such extensive material in the book, is there not a single photograph (I repeat, not a single one) that would reflect the actual (actual) state of the area, corpses, etc.?", except for the condition of the tent, and even then, in a bad way perspective (see pages 7 and 46)?

It’s hard to read lines where the authors insultingly "neutralize" their opponents, respectful people: Ivanov, Karelin, Vosuvizhensky(?), etc.

About the photograph on page 7 (46), I doubt that Brusnitsyn could have taken it, because... he should have been at the labaz at that time. But Aleksey Cheglakov could have taken the photo! (see page 36 "The Mystery...")

For more than 52 years I have been telling how Doroshenko and Krivonischenko lay in the clearing (see page 7). Kuntsevich should have my note dated January 28, 2009 about this in his archives. But in the book "The Mystery..." on page 47 it says: "The two were lying under the blanket together, almost naked only in their underwear." I saw such a photograph in Kuntsevich’s archive. But why wasn't it included in the book? One thing is clear: it is not to their advantage! So here is a question:"When was it done, and by whom?"

I'll try to answer these two questions!

A) I used to think that the one who asked about the pass about the bodies in the clearing went down there. Recently it turned out that it was Karelin, he did not go there, but asked a question about the tent, and went with me to the tent (see photo on pp. 7, 46).

[10] Note. I didn’t know him then.

B) On page 119 of [the book] "The Mystery..." there is a photograph with the inscription "A photograph taken in 1959 of the remains of the Dyatlov campfire at the cedar tree." Since it does not correspond to my description (see above), I have a questions to the authors: "Who took the photo and when?" I’ll tell you straight, they shouldn’t have included it in the book! Firstly, it does not reflect what we told you, i.e. this is a direct deception of readers!

Secondly, I claim that the clearing with the bodies was small, approximately 6x6 m, surrounded by small forests, i.e. trees no taller than us.

And what do we see in the picture on page 119, some kind of forest, then a fairly open space and a man standing in the background! Isn't this a stranger? I assume that the photo was taken by Aleksey, and Ivan is standing in the background! Not a soldier, especially not one of ours! (see page 50 "The Mystery...")

And here’s how one of the main pieces of evidence was removed!

Aleksey was probably in the group with Karelin. When Karelin and I went up to the tent, he ordered to send soldiers to the clearing to remove and move everything! I.e. stage!

So Sharavin and I were "neutralized"!

Deception again!!!

P.S. Avalanche version on the conscience of the authors

(signature) 3.11.2011

1. The number in square brackets corresponds to the page of the manuscript.
2. Words in square brackets indicate superscript additions to the text.
3. Several spelling and syntax errors have been corrected.

- 5 -

Question: Was Koptelov present when Slobodin was discovered?
Answer: No

Question: Y.K. writes that on March 2, he and his comrades loaded 5 bodies into the helicopter.
Does he remember whose body he personally loaded? Who did he loaded them with?
Answer: He personally did not load.

Question: Y.K. wrote that they followed the remains of the found ski track. Can he remember what kind of ski track it was, narrow skis or wide ones?
Answer: Fragments of ski track.

Question: Did they see camp sites of the Dyatlov group on the day of February 24 and February 25 on the way to the upper sources of Auspiya and the pass? Anyone else's camp sites?
Answer: No. No.

Question: Was it realistic to reach the Dyatlov Pass in 1 light day from their landing site?
Did they encounter Mansi notches and Mansi signs on the ski track?
Did they pass through the Mansi labaz that the Dyatlov group captured on their field films?
Answer: No, no.

Question: Does Y.K. remember when was the Dyatlov group's labaz discovered? Did this happened at that time. when Y.K. was still on the slope or was the labaz discovered after he and his comrades flew off the slope?
Answer: He was not present at this.

Question: Has Y.K. met on the slope investigator Korotaev, Tempalov, Ivanov? Forensic expert Henrietta Eliseevna Churkina?
Has he talked to any of them, even by chance? If so, can he tell us what he remembers from these meetings and conversations?
Answer: He probably talked to everyone, but he didn’t know them.

Question: Has he seen red or orange colored snow on the slope?
Answer: No.

Question: Did Y.K. look inside the tent?
Answer: Rather, no!

Question: When searchers Sharavin and Slobtsov brought a flask of alcohol from the Dyatlov group’s tent to the camp, does Y.K. remember what kind of flask was it? Will he be able to describe it? What color, shape? How much alcohol was there?
Did Y.K. himself drink the alcohol and approximately how much did they pour him?
Did any of the locals accompanying the group say that we should drink to the death of the Dyatlov group? If he remembers this moment, who spoke, can he please describe this person?
Were the students themselves outraged when they heard these words?
Did the locals and Mansi drink that alcohol from the Dyatlov group’s tent? Or did they refuse?
Answer: No. He drank as much as they poured him. He doesn’t remember if any of the locals talked about it. He doesn’t know whether the locals and Mansi drank.

Question: When on February 27 Y.K. went with M.P. Sharavin to the tent, were they returning to the tent some belongings of the Dyatlov group that had been brought to the search camp by Slobtsov and Sharavin the day before?
Answer: No.

Question: Did the arriving Mansi climb the mountain? To the tent? Or refused to go?
Answer: He hasn’t seen them.

Question: Talking about those long-ago events, does Y.K. consult with his notes from those years, or does he remember everything so well, up to each date? Did Y.K. keep a diary at that time, or did you start keeping a diary a little later, after the search? Or didn’t keep any records at all?
Answer: Yes, some.

Question: In the period February 27 to March 3, after he and M.P. Sharavin discovered the two Yuras, were you in the area of the Cedar? Have you seen, or do you know who has seen, Dyatlov’s croques?
Answer: No.

Question: In your second shift of searching, did you go to the Cedar, near which you and M.P. Sharavin discovered two Yuras on February 27, 1959? If you kept the records, could you tell us the calendar dates of your work at the pass?
Answer: No.

Question: Was he not interrogated? Or did they not include the protocol in the case files?
Answer: Not interrogated.


The only photos with Koptelov

Koptelov is hardly in any photos. You can see him in the base camp photo session with a mug and spoon at the far right. He likes to squat maybe because he is usually the tallest in the group. Yuri Koptelov calls himself "the fifth wheel", he didn't know anyone and no one remembered to warn him what not to do or say, no one remembered to question him since he and Mihail Sharavin found the bodies and Sharavin was hospitalized after a ski incident when the testimonies were taken. It is almost as if Koptelov was never there, and his account of events is almost as if he is talking about a different cedar and the position of the bodies is different, and he says he loaded 5 bodies in the helicopter before the fifth body (Slobodin) was found. What gives?

Yuri Koptelov manuscript 2011


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