Mystery of the fireballs
Lev Ivanov, "Leninskiy Put", Kustanay, 22 and 24 November 1990
Frame from movie "Mystery of the mountain of the dead" (2013)
We are beginning to get used to the fact that some newspapers, in the pursuit of sensation, often publish unverified, or even completely inaccurate information. I was interested in the publication in the Leninsky Put about UFOs according to the American press (Leninskiy Put №210 from October 30, 1990). It was precisely the reliability that interested me, since they rightly write that the official authorities often ignore the obvious facts of the appearance of UFOs.
This is true. And I would like to tell you how this is done here. Thirty years ago, I myself had to officially deal with this problem, with the only difference that and in my case there were very tragic circumstances. Everything that I will tell you is confirmed by official documents stored today in a criminal case in the State Archives of the Sverdlovsk Region. For this reason, I will not change either the names of the characters or the dates of the incident. There will be no copyright speculation in my information, it was an absolutely documentary fact published thirty years later at the initiative of the editorial board of the Sverdlovsk newspaper "Uralskiy Rabochiy" in 1990.
One afternoon, in April this year, a telephone rang in my apartment. My interlocutor at the other end of the line, a correspondent for the newspaper Uralsky Rabochiy - Bogomolov, asked for permission to fly from Sverdlovsk to clarify the details of a delicate matter. I agreed. And so we sat in my apartment until midnight, and I answered questions about the affairs of long gone days.
What interested the public of Sverdlovsk?
The Ural Polytechnic Institute has a tourclub named after Igor Dyatlov, who died in an expedition with a group of UPI students, and in Sverdlovsk at Mihailovsky cemetery, there is a monument to nine students of UPI who died in one of the expeditions to the Polar Urals in 1959. But no one knew the reason for the death of such a large group of hikers, because the dead were buried in closed coffins and there was no information on this case. Thirty years have passed since then. But students are persistent people, they continued to search. It turned out that Perestroika also touched the special vaults, or simply put: in the vaults from top secret archives the clasified stamp was removed, including one criminal case that was investigated in 1959.
Students - members of the club got acquainted with the materials of this case and with the secret packages stored in the case, and were extremely perplexed, because the official version of the death of a group of hikers announced then had nothing to do with the data that they found in a declassified criminal case. Students began to look for people who knew anything about this incident, but could not find a single one. And then they correctly decided that it was necessary to look for a prosecutor or investigator who was investigating this case.
In his book "Confession on a given topic", B. N. Yeltsin writes that even after graduating from the institute in 1956 he often went on hiking trips with his comrades. At that time, about which Boris Nikolaevich writes, difficult trips to the Subpolar Urals, or as they were classified, of the highest (third) category of difficulty, were a favorite form of youth entertainment - they brought up courage, valor, a sense of friendship, up to self-sacrifice. That was exactly the case.
At the end of January 1959, a group of hikers skiers from among the students and graduates of the UPI (two girls and seven men) went on a hike declared as a hike of category 3 difficulty in order to traverse the peaks (to go along them) of the Polar Urals with ascend to Mount Otorten , which is located north of Ivdel, in the upper sources of Auspiya river, a tributary of Lozva.
In conditions of very complicated meteorological conditions (blizzard, severe frost), skiers were late with climbing the mountain, but nevertheless, despite adverse weather and dying daylight, they decided to end the ascent, pitch a tent and spend the night at the slope, and in the morning to continue to the summit.
When the tent was pitched and the hikers went in for the night, some force threw them all barely clad out of the tent and scattered around the valley. All hikers died.
With the help of sappers and student volunteers, with the assistance of Ural Air Force aviation, from February to May they searched for the dead. They were found at different times in a radius of one and a half kilometers from the place of their last campsite, transported to Sverdlovsk and buried here. That's all that was known to relatives and the public of Sverdlovsk. Everyone was told that hikers were in an extreme situation and froze.
However, that was not true. The true causes of the deaths were hidden from the people, and only a few knew these reasons: the former first secretary of the regional committee A. P. Kirilenko, the second secretary of the regional committee A. F. Eshtokin, the regional prosecutor N. I. Klimov and the author of these lines, who were investigating the case. Today, neither Kirilenko, nor Eshtokn, nor Klimov are alive.
- 2 -
Events developed as follows. On January 31, 1959, a group of hikers led by experienced leader Igor Dyatlov, having set up labaz (cache - ed. note) for food supplies in the valley of Auspiya river, began climbing to the top of Otorten. According to the route schedule, Dyatlov should have arrived at a checkpoint in the village of Vizhay on February 12 and send a telegram to the Sverdlovsk Sports Committee about the end of the trip. But the group didn't show up ate the expected deadline in Vizhay. There was a tenth hiker that returned in Vizhay from the trek earlier due to illness, and he was the one who set off the alarm. *
The Executive Committee of the Regional Council immediately created a rescue group with the participation of sapper soldiers and aviation, as well as volunteer hikers. The general leadership was led by the master of sports in hiking, E. P. Maslennikov, and the investigation was entrusted to me. We flew by air to Ivdel, and from there by military helicopters to the taiga. We were provided with experienced rangers of the forced labor camp (Ivdellag) and Mansi hunters.
As a criminal prosecutor, I had to join the investigation or lead the investigation in the most complex cases. Apparently, this circumstance, as well as the past front-line service in the airborne troops, played the main role. So I ended up in an impenetrable Ural taiga in a tarpaulin tent in the most severe winter time from February to May.
I do not set as my goal to talk about how the search went, how the investigation went. All this is extremely interesting and instructive, but the newspaper area is not unlimited. To some extent, of course, with great speculation and fiction, this is described in the book of the participant of our expedition Boris Yarovoy, "The Highest Degree of Difficulty," which was published 20 years ago in Sverdlovsk. I just want, as promised at the beginning of the article, to talk about mysterious phenomena that occasionally appear on planet Earth and which no one can still explain.
When we landed in the taiga, and then went skiing to Mt Otorten, we literally found and dug up the hikers tent covered with snow at the very top.
Inspection of the tent showed that the outer clothing of the hikers - jackets and trousers - remained intact inside; as well as backpacks with all their belongings. It is known that hikers, even in winter, set for a night in a tent, take off their outer clothing. Incidentally, we did this in our tent, although the temperature in it never rose above minus four degrees.
The presence of all clothes and literally all belongings in the tent, including diaries, cameras, products, indicated that people left the tent suddenly. Later, I established that the two long cuts on the tent through which people flee were made with a knife from the inside.
There was not a single drop of blood in or near the tent, which indicated that all the hikers left the tent without bodily harm. The latter circumstance will be very important in the future.
From the tent, from the mountain to the valley, sometimes there were eight, sometimes nine tracks of footprints. In mountains with supercooled snow, traces are not visible, but rather look like columns, since the footprints are compacted under the snow, and are blown around the track. The presence of nine sets of footprints confirmed that all the hikers walked on their own, nobody carried anyone. But then a mystery happened. One and a half kilometers from the tent, in the river valley, near the old cedar, the hikers after fleeing from the tent, made a fire and here they began to die one by one.
Based on the developed films shot by the hikers before the night, taking into account the density of negatives, the sensitivity of the film (since the containers were preserved), the aperture settings and shutter speed on the cameras, I managed to "tie" the frames with the time of shooting and get more information, but this did not answer the main question: what was the reason for the flight of the hikers from the tent.
When investigating cases, no detail is small: investigators have the motto: attention to little things! Near the tent, a natural trace was discovered that one man went out to relief himslef. He came out barefoot, in woolen socks only ("for a moment"). Then this trace of shoeless feet is traced down into the valley.
There was every reason to build the version that it was this person who raised the alarm and he himself did not have time to put on shoes. So, there was some terrible force that not only frightened him, but all the others, forcing them to leave the tent in emergency and seek refuge below, in the taiga. To find this force or at least get closer to it was the task of my investigation.
February 26, 1959 below, at the edge of the taiga, we found the remains of a small fire and here we found the bodies of the hikers Doroshenko and Krivonischenko naked to underwear. Then, in the direction of the tent, the body of Igor Dyatlov was discovered, not far from him two more - Slobodin and Kolmogorova. Without detailing, I will say that the last three were the most physically strong and strong-willed personalities, they crawled from the campfire to the tent for clothes - this was quite obvious from their positions. A subsequent autopsy showed that these three courageous people died from hypothermia - they froze, although they were better dressed than the others.
- 3 -
Already in May, near where was the fire, under a five-meter layer of snow, we found the dead Dubinina, Zolotaryov, Thibeaux-Brignolle and Kolevatov. On external examination of their bodies there were no injuries. The sensation came later when in the Sverdlovsk morgue, we performed an autopsy of these corpses. Dubinina, Thibeaux-Brignolle and Zolotaryov had extensive, completely incompatible with life physical injuries. For Lyuda Dubinina, for example, 2, 3, 4, 5 ribs were broken on the right and 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 on the left. One fragment of the rib even penetrated the heart. On Zolotaryov 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ribs were broken. And all this without visible external injuries. Such damage usually happens when a person is struck with a large force, for example, by car at high speed. But such damage cannot be obtained from falling from a height of one's own body. In the vicinity of Mt Otorten and the surrounding area there were boulders and stones of various configurations covered with snow, but they were not in the way of the hikers (remember there were footprints), and of course these stones were not thrown at the hikers. There were no external bruises. Consequently, there was a directed force that selectively acted on individuals, excluding others. True, there were some circumstances about which I want to say.
When already in May we examined the scene of the incident with E. Maslennikov * * we found that some young trees on the forest tree line have traces of burning, but they are not in concentric shape or any other system. There was no epicenter. This once again confirmed a source of heat ray or completely unknown to us energy acting selectively - the snow was not melted, the trees were not damaged. It seemed like when the hikers walked on their feet more than five hundred meters down from the mountain, someone dealt with some of them as direct targets.
|* * ||Maslennikov came back from the pass in March. Maslennikov 2nd notebook |
He was not part of the search in May as Ivanov claims.
Now there is much talk about the 50s, only to place responsibility for the past on someone. In that period of time there was strict, I would say, unconditional discipline, especially in the work of law enforcement agencies. There was no Beria, but his legacy was alive, and just now we are barely parting with it.
When, together with the regional prosecutor, I reported the initial data to the first secretary of the regional party committee, L. P. Kirilenko, he gave a clear command - all the work should be classified and not a single word of information should be leaked. Kirilenko ordered the hikers to be buried in closed coffins and the relatives to be told that they died from hypothermia.
Khrushchev was informed about the event at the very beginning, and the latter, as it is known from the publication of one of the participants in the search party, the correspondent of the newspaper, spoke out against any reports on this issue, until all the hikers were found and full investigation is carried out. And when they found the rest of the bodies and revealed such details about which I spoke above, now Kirilenko did not inform Khrushchev. And the matter on such a high level died out by itself. All appeals of relatives were swept under the rug. Such was the order in the country then, and it wasn't up to us to change it.
The fact is that when the investigation was underway, a tiny note appeared in the Tagil Worker newspaper, during the period when the students were on Mt Otorten, a fireball was seen in the sky of Nizhniy Tagil, or, as they say now, an unidentified flying object. This luminous object moved silently towards the northern peaks of the Ural Mountains. The author of the article asked: what could it be? For the publication of such a note, the editor of the newspaper was penalized, and I suggested that the regional committee doesn't take this topic any further. The second secretary of the regional party committee A. F. Yestokin took control over my investigation.
At that time, we still knew very little about unidentified flying objects, we did not know about radiation either. The ban on these topics was caused by the possibility of even accidentally deciphering information about missile and nuclear technology, the development of which at that time was really just beginning, and in the world there were times called the "Cold War".
But I couldn't just drop the investigation, I’m a professional criminalist and I have to find a clue. I nevertheless decided, despite the ban, to continue working on this case maintaining the highest degree of secrecy, because other versions, including criminal intend, animals attacks, a fall during a hurricane, etc., were excluded by the evidence.
It was clear to me in what sequence did they die - all this from thorough study of the bodies, the clothes, other data. All that remained was the sky and its contents - energy unknown to us, which turned out to be higher than human forces.
Having conspired with scientists of the UFAN (Ural branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences), I conducted very extensive research on clothes and individual organs of the deceased for "radiation". And for comparison, we took clothes and internal organs of people who died in car accidents or who died a natural death. The results were amazing. For non-experts, the results of the analysis will not say anything, and I will only say these: the brown sweater of one of the hikers who had bodily injuries - gave 9900 decays per minute, and after washing the sample - 5200 decays, that is, these data indicate the presence of radioactive "dust" which was washed away. I must say that before the discovery of these corpses, they were intensively washed by melting water under the snow - entire rivers flowed there. Consequently, the radiation "dust" contamination at the time of the death of the hikers was much higher.
- 4 -
As a prosecutor who at that time had to deal with some secret defense issues, I rejected the version of the atomic weapon test in this zone. It was then that I began to closely engage in "fireballs."
I interrogated many eyewitnesses of overflight, hovering and, quite simply, visits of unidentified flying objects in the Subpolar Urals. Incidentally, UFO's i.e. unidentified flying objects are often associated with aliens. I do not agree with this. UFOs need to be understood as unidentified flying objects, and only so. Many data suggest that these can be clots of energy that are not understood by modern people and unexplained by modern data of science and technology, affecting animate and inanimate nature encountered in their path. Apparently, we met with one of them.
Next I will quote from my interrogations and documents. I said above that they are stored in the archive. Technician meteorologist Tokareva - told me:
"On February 17 at 6 h. 50 m. local time in the sky appeared not unnatural phenomenon. Moving star with a tail. The tail looked like dense cirrus clouds. Then the star was freed from the tail, became brighter than the stars and flew away. It gradually began to swell, forming a large ball, enveloped in a haze. Then inside this ball the star caught fire, from which first a crescent was formed, then a small ball formed, not so bright. The big ball gradually began to fade, became like a blurry spot. At 7 h. 05 m. it disappeared altogether. A star moved from the south to the northeast."
Is it necessary to add to this that Tokareva’s observation of the sky was part of her professional duties. And that at this time the comet region did not visit the comet. This ball of fire was observed in the Ivdel region by serviceman A. Savkin, who was also questioned:
"On February 17, 1959, at 6:40 in the morning, while on duty on the south side, a ball of bright white light appeared that periodically enveloped in cloud white dense fog inside this cloud was a bright-luminous point the size of a star. Moving towards the north direction the ball was visible for 8-10 minutes."
It was already a matter of technology - to find other people who, at night in the evenings in January-February 1959, were not sleeping, but were on duty out in the open. Now it’s not a secret for anyone that Ivdel at that time it was a solid "archipelago" of camp sites forming Ivdellag, which was guarded around the clock.
The testimonies of Novikov, Avenburg, Malik were exactly the same. The same ball was seen on March 31. We saw a similar ball on the night of the death of the hikers, that is, from the first to the second of February, students-hikers of the Geological Faculty of the Pedagogical Institute. Witness G. Atamanaki - saw this ball over Otorten on the night of the 1st of February.
The study of the case now fully convinces, and even then I stuck to the version of the death of student hikers from exposure to an unknown flying object. Based on the evidence gathered, the role of UFOs in this tragedy was quite obvious. Correspondent Bogomolov, whom I gave an interview, in his publication claims that the criminal prosecutor Ivanov at that time clearly highlighted: the cause of the deaths was an unidentified object, although he encoded it in the final document with the words "force majeure". To the correspondent’s question, have I changed my view of the causes of death of the hikers over these thirty years, I replied that I only changed my view of the impact technique. If earlier I believed that the ball exploded, releasing completely unknown, but radioactive energy, now I believe that the action of the energy from the ball was selective, it was aimed only at three people.
When I reported to A. F. Yeshtokin about my findings - fireballs, radioactivity, he gave a completely categorical order: to classify everything, to seal everything up, to hand it over to the special unit and forget about it. Needless to say that all this was exactly done?
It may seem strange to the current reader: what was secret about this? But remember that just recently, before these events, the so-called radioactive "exhaust" occurred in Kyshtym. Now, much has been said about him, even in print, but no one would dare to say something like that at that time! But in the infection zone in the Kyshtym region, huge decontamination works were carried out, and, despite this, only a few knew about everything, and the onew that knew, were silent. Older people may recall what it was like: just recently launched an artificial Earth satellite, it announced trials of atomic and then hydrogen weapons (as it was called then), and many associated these mysterious phenomena, including unidentified flying objects with military tests, but investigative actions indicated that the case of Dyatlov group had nothing to do with military tests. Now that everyone knows everything about the testing ranges and methods of testing nuclear weapons, our version of the deaths that arose at that time has received even more confirmation.
- 5 -
So that the current generation does not judge us very strictly for our work, I’ll say that even today, when eyewitnesses are still alive, they don’t tell the whole truth.
I recently read in the central press that during the destruction of the reconnaissance plane Powers near Sverdlovsk, a Soviet aircraft led by pilot Safronov was also shot down. About this writes the former battery commander, who shot down both aircraft, then Major Voronov. But after all, about the fact that two aircraft were shot down, including ours, even then thousands of people knew. Thousands of people saw our fighter crash into the ground near the city of Degtyarsk, not far from Pervouralsk, but for thirty years our press has not written anything about this. Like many others, I saw how one missile went first, and then a second, how the shot down planes dispersed in different directions - one towards Sysert (Powers), the second - in the opposite direction towards Revda (our plane). But they published about this only after so many years.
For forty years of work in the prosecutor’s office, and most of this time I was allowed to use super-secret information, I still can’t understand why people had to lie?
I do not want to justify my actions to classify events with fireballs and the death of a large group of people. I asked the correspondent to publish my apologies to the relatives of the victims for distorting the truth, to hide the truth from them, and since there were no places for this in the four issues of the newspaper, I bring this publication to the families of the victims, especially to appologize to the relatives of Dubinina, Thibeaux-Brignolle and Zolotaryov. At one time, I tried to do everything I could, but at the time, as the lawyers say, there was an "irresistible force" in the country, it became possible to defeat it only now. And again about the fireballs. They were and still are. It is only necessary not to hush up their appearance, but to deeply understand their nature. The vast majority of the witnesses that I met talk about the peaceful nature of their behavior, but, as you see, there are also tragic exceptions. Someone needed to frighten or punish people, or show their strength, and they did this, killing three people. I know all the details of this incident and I can say that only those who were in these balls know more about me than these circumstances. And whether there were "people" there and whether they are always there - no one knows yet.
In conclusion. What attracted young people to such dangerous expeditions? What power drove these people? Reading the story of B. I. Yeltsin about treks in the Northern Urals and comparing its current nature, I trace this direct connection: real people are formed in such extreme situations. Courage, valor, strenght, will, nobility - all this is the result of a long, from a young age, formation of character, nature. After all, when in February we came to the big cedar tree, near which the hikers tried to make a fire and carefully examined and compared everything, we were struck by the courage and stamina of the young people who fought for their lives and the lives of their comrades. Imagine a tree trunk 50-60 cm thick. Hikers took turns climbing this tree to break off branches for a fire (they made a fire). On the bark of the tree there were frozen (it’s scary to even say it!) their skin of their inner thighs and scraps of underwear. All this covered the cedar bark. During excavations in May, we found the corpses of Lyuda Dubinina and the others. They died first from terrible internal injuries, but they were not abandoned. They were carried away from the fire, carefully laid. Even the dead men themselves took care of the dead. This is how real people behave. We have something to take from the past, and how petty the behavior of other people now seems, who cannot even overcome ordinary difficulties.
But what about the astronauts of the fireballs? If they exist, then sooner or later they will manifest themselves, and circumstances will bring them to our civilization. I have no doubt about that.
L. I. Ivanov, lawyer Kustanay