Transcript of the conversation with the representative of the "CENTER for Civil Investigation of the Dyatlov Tragedy" Elder (AK)
and the representative of the "Dyatlov Foundation" Y. Kuntsevich (YK)
with rescuer M. Sharavin (MSh) Feb 15, 2007
AK: What date were you dropped off at what place?
MSh: On Otorten, on the 23rd at the end of the day. In the afternoon near Otorten.
AK: Near Otorten, where: how far, how high?
MSh: Right on a slope above the forest, but not far, somewhere 300 meters above the tree line, on a place like that (map, photo-1)
MSh: On a flat ground. By this time, in my opinion, Sogrin or Akselrod, one of them, had already gone up the mountain and we already had information that there was nobody there, because while we were still in the air, we were flying here because there was still no information about whether they were on the mountain or not. So when they arrived, and were expecting two more flights, first one group, then the second, and in this period they climbed the mountain and ...
AK: So they landed earlier?
MSh: I think that Sogrin was investigating these spurs. His group went here. (map, photo-2) I think they most likely went on Otorten ... Yura (Yudin) told me that Sogrin went here. They went up here and we had information that ... this means that the first group landed.
AK: Here Akselrod wrote himself…
MSh: Akselrod went there on the mountain. They didn’t go further with us, if it’s Axelrod, then they went up. And then they had a different route and they generally didn’t participate in our group with Slobtsov. In our group were Halizov, Krotov, I have a list…
Navig: You were in a group with Halizov and Krotov? Who else?
MSh: Slobtsov, Krotov and Yuri Koptelov, there were more of us, but I don’t remember everyone now. I have a record of it. Everybody from the group is there.
MSh: There were at least 6 people.
Navig: You and Slobtsov were you in one group?
MSh: Yes. He was the leader of the group. Y.Koptelov was also in our group.
Navig:And Ivan, the firefighter, was he also with you?
MSh: No. There were two in our group. They joined in Ivdel. This Ivan and another one.
Navig: So Ivan and the fireman are different people?
Navig:You have the addresses of Halizov and Krotov?
MSh: No. Krotov is no longer alive. I have an address for Koptelov.
AK: Were you briefed about the search, i.e. given any instructions, in the city or in the helicopter, or on the spot?
MSh: No, there were no instructions in the city. We just got together in the city... and we gathered for like half a day, i.e. quickly. We didn't really need much preparation, because we had just returned from a trip and were physically ready and had our equipment with us. Well, maybe we came back two days earlier, now I don’t remember exactly, but we just got back form a trip. There was no briefing.
– 2 –
Navig:You did not have any instruction, from the prosecutor's office or anybody else?
Navig:But according to the rules, you should have been given instructions because you could have messed up everything at the scene?
MSh: They followed this case behind the scenes. We had a suspicion that one of the men who was sent to us in the capacity of a guide, was clearly not performing accordingly. This is how they tried to influence. This is why Yuri had the idea that while we found the tent and the first bodies of the 27th, someone visited the site besides us. For example, the brown blanket that was covering the bodies was no longer there. We claim that they were covered with a brown blanket, and then it disappeared, it turned out to be in the tent. It was at cedar and then ended up in a tent. And when they began to sort things out in the tent and found it there. Who moved it there?
MSh: In the afternoon of the 23rd we flew out. So, on the eve of 22, we flew with an An airplane from Sverdlovsk to Ivdel, spent the night there, waited half a day for the helicopter, the weather was bad, on the evening of 23 we flew out. On the 23rd we spent our first night on Lozva, because in the afternoon we walked a bit, the next day we walked down Lozva and began to cross into the Auspiya valley; it's the 24th. On the 25th we went skiing. We did not go down to Auspiya. They walked along the left bank. We crossed their ski track and found it, on the evening of this day it was was our third night. It was already the 25th, so we arrived.
YK: To the cache site (labaz - ed. note)?
MSh: No, not that day. On this day we settled. On the 25th we spent the night, on the 26th we went on a radial search. Went, in my opinion, on 3 routes. Here we are, with Slobtsov and with the guide, we went up the Auspiya, along the track directly along theirs, went to the pass and 26th found a tent. The rest of the groups... there were two more groups, they went somewhere…
YK: Who was there from the guides?
MSh: A fireman. I forgot my last name.
MSh: No there was no Mansi yet. On the 26th what happened is that on the 26th we found the tent and we quickly returned on our old ski track to our camp and when we arrived, literally a few hours before this, the Mansi group had arrived. They dragged one of his sick fellows on hides, he got sick on the road, the radio operator came with them, and in my opinion right there and then, in the evening radio report, it was announced that the tent was found. We discussed our actions for the next day the 27th. Since it was known that there was nobody in the tent, that they had gone down to the slope to Lozva, we coordinated with Maslennikov, that we would go early in the morning with Yuri Koptelov down Lozva river valley to choose a place for a camp, since the guys went there, it is necessary to look, clearly, in the direction of Lozva and we had to choose a place, but still remained to collect the tent. We didn’t cross over the pass, we climbed not along the old track, but a little to the right, through height 880.
It remained to the right, but at the same time we went to the right of the remnant (the memorial - ed. note). If you look here, this pass... further to the south... here is the pass, here is the mountain ... from here, it says 880 on these maps. They say that the altitudes have changed since. Here it the 880. Here somewhere is the remnant... we’re probably literally... or maybe, since we got up from there (map), we even like that ... Because we went down in that direction. when we climbed here began to look down, it became clear that there ... there weren’t such birch trees yet, like now, after 48 years - everything is overgrown with birch trees, but then this cedar stood out very well, it was like some kind of that hillock. Such a little mound but it stood out very prominently, so we went there right away. We arrived at the cedar and then found them. Because there the snow was swept out under the cedar and it was very clear, the undergrowth was small, there was a lot of snow, the bushes were visible and we were skiing down (map), these bushes were not in the way.
– 3 –
AK: Who found them? Because in one book it says that you and Slobtsov show up later, when the bodies were already found?
MSh: In one book it says that we didn’t find the cedar, but allegedly Brusnitsyn with someone, this can't be true, because it is not something that you forget, we were the first to go together, there was nobody else there, with Yuri Koptelov. We walked side by side, went down together and literally 10 meters, or 15, before reaching the cedar, we saw something black, because the blanket was on top, it was not covered, it stood out. We approach and immediately... then we began to observe. We see traces of the fire, and the fire was on the same side [of the cedar] from which the guys were lying, and some branches were broken, we could see this. See here is this book... in the dictionary it says: “Cedar is an eternally green tree. Under a huge cedar growing on the slope of the mountain on February 26” - this is wrong, it was not the 26th, but the 27th,- "Slobtsov discovered two bodies." Slobtsov was not here on the 26th. We found the tent with him, this is the day before. And this happened on the 27th and we were with Yuri Koptelov.
YK: And went to report right away?
MSh: Then we threw our backpacks here and began to climb. Yurii went along our track to meet the guys to inform them, and I went to the remnant, because the helicopter flew in. A helicopter brought guides, dog trainers with dogs, so I met them and gave them information.
AK: And the fire, what kind of traces did you see?
MSh: The logs were simply not burnt, mostly branches of such a thickness (shows) broken from the cedar, the traces from where they were broken were clearly visible. Here are some ends like this. Here it burned ... it’s clear that no one even mended to the fire, otherwise, if someone was watching the fire, he would have have shifted and rushed the logs to burn…
AK: So once they started the fire…
MSh: This means the fire stop burning when there were no more people around. No one was watching. Well, there were not many unburnt firewood. There were not many, maybe... five like that. But we immediately noticed that Doroshenko, especially his hands were black up to his elbows, and it’s not just brown, as many have observed there, his face is a little brown in color, as if exposure from a flash of fuel is possible, but he clearly had... that he was trying to warm them, it was clearly... a fire. We immediately noted that his hands were frostbitten to such an extent that he did not feel anything, when he was still trying to warm them. Some impression that the slightly unburnt skin was already black... This is (photo-3) at the very spot. You can see that there were some branches chopped off.
AK: Was there any brushwood?
MSh: We did not see any brushwood.
AK: You did not see any laying around?
MSh: The brushwood could be a little further away and covered with snow, maybe, or we were then not up to a careful study of this whole scene, i.e. we noted that at the first moment everything there was to notice. Later on one could thing of inaccuracies, but these are the most basic facts.
Navig: And what was the thickness of the branches in the fire under the cedar?
MSh: Up to 50 mm
Navig: Were they broken off or coul dyou see cuts on them?
MSh: Broken off, traces of an ax or knife on them were not visible.
Navig: How far from the cedar was the fire?
MSh: The fire was next to the cedar, about 50 cm.
Navig: Was it on top of the snow or was it covered in snow?
MSh: There was wind and the place was swept and everything was blown off. You could se the logs.
Navig: But the bodies were also near the cedar?
MSh: They were within 2.5 m from the cedar, on the same side where the fire was near the cedar. They lay.
Navig: From the side of the tent?
MSh: No, on the opposite side, in the direction of the place where they found the rest in the ravine. And the fire was behind the cedar if you look from the side of the tent. And this is due to the fact that the wind then blew from the side of the tent and cedar protected from wind.
Navig: And who could cover them with a blanket?
MSh: Now, if we stick to our version, then we believed that Kolevatov, who was still alive, covered them, but Yuri believes that there may be groups that worked there to clean up, if we concider this version and maybe they were covered after they died. Although there are many perplexing questions because there are injuries incompatible with life just for the guys below.
Navig: But about the ice axe, was it after all their ice axe or not?
MSh: The ice axe was definitely theirs.
Navig: In the tent, quilted jackets were under the blankets or on top?
MSh: The quilted jackets were under the covers, first the skis lay below, then the backpacks, then the quilted jackets, then the blankets.
Navig: Were the blankets spread out or crumpled?
MSh: No, they were spread out. When we initially made our way in, we removed the snow, of course we did not completely clear it.
AK: And the screen? What is it?
MSh: Screen? The window you mean. We didn't notice it then, it was noted and carefully examined only later. It is at a sufficient height, not less than 4-5 meters, broken branches and now the ends of the broken branches are visible. When we were in 2001, we noticed and photographed it. This is the cleared space from the branches. To be seen. That it was directed towards the tent and, most likely, was used in order to see what was going on there.
– 4 –
AK: The window is meant. Then we did not notice it, then it is already noted, later, when we carefully examined it. But this is at a sufficient height, not less than 4-5 meters, broken branches and now the ends of the broken branches are visible. When we were in 2001, we noticed and photographed it. This is the cleared space from the branches. To be see through. It was directed towards the tent and, most likely, was used in order to see what was going on there.
MSh: For a fire, no one will climb to such a height to break off branches for a fire, when branches remained lower; the same trunk was two and a half meters bare, that is, it was broken off. Then, a row of branches. And already much higher, branches for this window are broken. I.e. it is obvious that it was used for surveillance. Nothing else could be seen from there. It turns out, most likely, I am inclined to the fact that it was one of them who made the observation window. Someone could have had enough strength. I don't think it was an outsider, it seems to me - no ... But who could have remained so strong? Only Kolevatov, maybe?
YK: But where to get strength in such cold, barefoot, stripped and without gloves...
AK: And after you found the bodies at the cedar, did you go up to the tent?
MSh: At first we climbed in our ski track, and then went to the remnant. Without reaching the remnant about 30 meters away the helicopter landed. There is a pass, and the remnant is not at the pass itself, it is somewhat lower, 50 meters towards Auspiya. There is an elevated place, the helicopter landed at the very transit point, close to the remnant. When we were meeting someone or taking off ourselves, the helicopter always stopped behind the remnant, as if at a transit point, closer to Lozva than to Auspiya. Usually this is the most convenient place, the platform is even, and the aircraft needs to land on a even surface.
AK: And what was the state of snow on the slope and above?
YK: Where did the soft snow begin?
MSh: At the remnant the snow was already with a crust. There wasn't much snow there, we went skiing just as you go along, you push off with poles, there was solid snow, it froze and was swept out there. And in the direction of the tent we walked through snowy meadows. That is, there was no loose snow in this whole place. When we approached the tent, when we saw it and turned, the snow was already dense. And when we discovered the footprints, they were as if on pillars, that is, as if all the loose snow had been blown out, blown away by the wind. The soft snow had hardened underfoot and when the wind blew away the loose snow the footprint remained a little higher. As on platforms. There were impression. It is not what happens on firn snow, let’s say that they were embossed. The snow is blown out so that they remain like pillars, a little higher series of tracks ... The tracks began about 8 (eight) meters from the tent, but no further. Immediately behind the tent, this is how the wind acts... it blows away the snow behind the barrier, then the snow rises a little ... and as soon as it rises a little, then traces began to be visible. Both in front and next to the tent, especially from the side of the entrance - everything was blown out there. On the other hand, from the side opposite the entrance, and from the side of the mountain or the slope - the was no such clearance and the snow went smoothly into the tent - and continues smoothly further down the slope. This was such an interesting place.
AK: Where was the tent on the slope?
MSh: Is it at a height of 1079? ... You see, here there is this elevation to the right and the stone ridge is coming. This place looks, most likely, as such a corridor ... After all, you have summer photos ... Somewhere in this part, most likely, you need to look for a place for a tent. When we took pictures ... you don’t have those photos? ... Yuri brought ...
AK: Here is the ridge...
MSh: Well, this ridge ... well, we found here in this area, we determined a place ... If you look from the side down, the ridge remained on our left. There, further down, there was a number of such ridges... and not far from this ridge, well, about 20 meters, somewhere in this part ... Let's compare the photographs ... Something in like a recess is formed in this place (photo-4). It’s like a place fell on the sidelines of such a ... And when we began to examine the vegetation in the places where it had already grown, it turned out that all these small birches from the side of the slope were torn everywhere. They all have their bark peeled ... That is, there at some time, I don’t know when, but the snow was moving ... by the wind?
Navig: You talked about ragged birches and cedars. They grew up near the tent?
MSh: I mean, birch trees peeled were like from avalanches, where snow went down. They grew up in the place where the tent was. But then when we found the tent everything was under the snow and there was none of this, but when we flew in the spring, these birches had already melted and we carefully examined them. From the side of the slope, i.e. from the side of possible avalanches, all these birch trees had their bark peeled off.
Navig: And in the area of the cedar, was there something of the kind?
MSh: No, there wasn't.
– 5 –
AK: Still moving?
MSh: Well, it’s not even entirely possible to be blown away ... Tattered so intensely, and the direction is the same, from the slope. But this direction of the prevailing winds is the same ... They all have bark from the side of the slope stripped, and birches, and small cedars ...
AK: But is the guys walking down the slope? Down straight to the cedar?
MSh: Yes. In the direction of the guys. This is a general slope there and the direction, if you look from the side of the stripped branches, it will just be the direction there ... You can look in a different way, in another photo ... (photo-5). This is this elevation and this is elevation - they determined the width of this recess. And the tent ... That is, we first found an approximate place where the tent could have been and began to investigate, and it turned out that these were shores, and there was a hollow ... And of course, if in May it was like this leveled, then when we found a tent, there was much more snow here, because there were no bald patches anywhere, it was covered. And I didn’t measure, but the snow there, in these places, was not less than a meter or more ... And therefore the impression that this area did not look at all like that, it was as if elevated. This place looked elevated and the tent turned out to be to some extent on the transition: slope, then a platform, and then there is a decline again. (draws a map). But where there is a tent, this platform was not in a valley, not buried in the snow. The tent was even a little higher. That is, here, perhaps, it is quite possible that there was some movement of snow, a heap ... That is, now, when we were looking for this place, I was guided..., I was just guided by what? I focused approximately on the direction where we went. We went with a certain purpose. We went to the nearest hill, which means a crossroads, to look in the direction of Otorten, because the guide told us that there, they say, there is a lake where there are landslides, the cliff is pretty steep, that the deer graze there, you look from above, and they are like mittens... That is, we decided to go in the direction of this cliff. Therefore, we moved there, and when we moved in this direction, we walked like this to the left ... and about 50 meters to the left we found the tent. It’s like we’re going from here to there, here - and to the left of the slope we found a tent, about 50 meters... we saw the top of the tent (photo-6). Because only the top was sticking out.
AK: Here is a photo of the tent (photo-7). What had changed compared with what you saw the first time?
MSh: Well, here, here, after being raked, here...
AK: Was snow piled on top of the tent? A lot?
MSh: Now it seems to me that this was the entrance ... if it wasn’t the ski again and it was those skis, then there were skis at the entrance. At the entrance. And on the opposite side there seemed to be sticks, but there were no skis ... Most likely this is not the entrance, I think so ... (photo-8). And the fact that there is a pile of snow on this side - that was it. The entrance was higher, it was tied to skiing, and only one entrance was visible. Only one entrance was visible, and it was as it were ... I think this is this photograph after they worked well here. Well, first of all, we worked with Slobtsov, trying to dig it up. We found an ice axe and broke all the snow on top and cut through the skate of the tent ... this is the damage that we partially inflicted on it ... we needed to get to the inside and make sure that nobody was there. And since it was not just that te tent lay there, unhinged, covered with snow, we couldn't tell if there is somebody inside... When we found it, here, one end was raised, and covered. Here you see snow is piled all around, this is due to the fact that the tent was dug up [and the snow was piled up around it]...
AK: And who in the photo is not clear here? And who took the picture?
MSh: It’s not clear ... this is when we took it apart... There were quite a lot of people ...
AK: And there the prosecutor’s filmed anything at all? Was there an expert photographer?
MSh: I don't think so. We didn't work on the tent with Ivanov. He showed up later.
AK: With Korotaev?
MSh: Yes. Well, when we took it apart, the picture had completely changed. All the snow was cleared, the tent was dismantled and everything moved to a flooring and began to sort it out ... there was generally a leveled area... two days passed... then they worked so hard in this place that no forensic investigators like that this case is not being investigated... And who has been there these days? Many have visited to see what is what... Now, is they fenced it like this, there wouldn't be a single trace at all...
– 6 –
AK: After you found the tent, almost all the groups were around?
MSh: Probably, during ... if we were sorting it on the 28th till the end of the day, then the first ones started the search, went down, they went clearly from the tent. The first ones I met were the guides, I showed them the tent and they followed in the footsteps down - and traces could be added and everything that is not there... From the point of view that it is necessary to obtain information, we didn't see things through back then... I have to admit that we didn't mark in any way where the tent was... It was described, Maslennikov described there ... it can only be judged indirectly. It indicates the height and approximate distance from the top. It seems to me that this distance is far from accurate... there it says 300 meters. But what are 300 meters? It seems to me much further... to me it seems that here could be 300 m from the foothill, but not from the top.
YK: Maslennikov's notebook is now in Karelin?
Navig: Do you have Maslennikov’s diary? There is information that it is and is not published.
MSh: No, no. Maslennikov died, and probably handed it to someone.
MSh: Yuri has some of his notes... at least testimonies or something ... a record, because from there I remember that the height is indicated not so... at intervals, approximate height ... There was no satellite navigation system, so that this point could be fixed to the nearest meter, and then recorded. Then it would be possible to find it again. Now there is this point that we noted, and it can be found. Nowadays the point we found with the guys was recorded using the satellite system. That is, it can be found where we have now identified the place. At the very least, we can compare records with the originals ones: how did we get to this point. Because then they also evaluated there for a reason, but looked at the map where the horizontal heights are. I think that's how they defined it.
AK: When the tent was first discovered, what things did you notice when you got inside? They talk about a windbreaker, a flashlight ... slippers?
MSh: From this point of view, there is one, let’s assume, by the way... This is what Matveeva describes, she very closely describes how I present the case, except for one thing: she writes that they found a log there. There was not a log, but a stove filled with firewood. There was not a single log laying around, but the stove, such a small one there, it was completely clogged with firewood. That is, they expected to warm up, they simply did not lit it. No firewood was pulled from the stove...
YK: It says about the time [they had]...
MSh: It was standing near the entrance. What did we first saw when we approached the tent: a pair of skis that stood upright in the snow at the entrance. In my opinion, the entrance was even tied ... Skis stood, an ice axe stuck at the entrance. They didn’t notice anything else on the ground. When they began to disassemble the tent, we found a stove, a camera, a flask with alcohol, loin... it somehow seemed to be not in the package, but it scattered... Well, I don’t remember the items...
Navig:About the ice ax, was it their ice axe or not?
MSh: The ice axe was definitely theirs.
MSh: It seems to me that things weren’t lying around like that, especially since they didn’t notice anything near the tent. At the floor everything was laid so carefully, nothing was turned upside down, they were just preparing for an overnight stay, nothing was amiss. Skis, quilted jackets lay down there ... backpacks, then quilted jackets ... blankets were spread like this ... So, what did we find? We didn’t even make out this far corner, it was so caved in... we looked at this part. Flashlight? Well, Slobtsov says that we found a flashlight there on the top ... Most likely, this was the case, but somehow I did not remember this. ... All that I say is reliable. We took the camera down with us, a flask ... we drank it immediately that same night when we went back to the camp. And there was nothing more to say.
– 7 –
Navig:And we just came to the blankets. Were the blankets were woolen or cotton?
MSh: No, cotton. These blankets were student blankets from the dormitory, they were all cotton.
Navig:Still on the tent, quilted jackets were under blankets or on top?
MSh: The quilted jackets were under the covers, first the skis lay below, then the backpacks, then the quilted jackets, then the blankets.
MSh: No, they were spread out. When we initially cut our way in, we removed the snow, of course we did not completely clear it.
AK: Was there anyone from the prosecutor's office in the searches? In the groups first probably? Or did Ivanov come later?
MSh: No, no one from the prosecutor’s office was there. For example, we had two people in the group...
AK: What about other organizations?
MSh: ...One of them - we suspect that he was involved with the organs. He always walked with a camera on his chest...
AK: And you were not allowed to take pictures?
MSh: ... well, in my opinion, we didn't have cameras. Most likely, maybe there was no such ban, official. If someone had a camera with them - and took pictures, if they wanted to... But this one with the camera, one comrade ... One was saying to be a fireman, but the second, I find it difficult to even say who he was by affiliation. Such a young relatively ... The fireman was older, and this relatively young compared to him ... well, of course, he was 35 years old at that time. If we were 25, then he was not old... But here is the suspicion that this second comrade was assigned with a specific purpose. He didn't behave as a guide. It seems that he did not know the area. Yes, and first...
YK: Did he have any investigative techniques?
MSh: That's just the point ... for example, we went up, looking for a ski track ... well, I was looking for a ski track, so as not to go astray. Strayed, found again, walked again ... And he was behind us on the beaten track and didn’t take any step aside ... Well, of course, compared to us, we are young, but he did not behave so we could suspect anything obvious. But the first one had little to do with a "fireman". How do we know this? When we came from the pass in the evening, when we found the tent, everyone was shocked, we drank their flask, and someone... Well, the "fireman" settled down at the entrance to sleep ... And someone went out at night, he stumbled over a rope, the peg came off, the ridge rope came loose. The rope burned out, the stovepipe disconnected, and all the smoke went into the tent. This "firefighter" was the first to rush out, doing nothing but yelled "Fire! Fire!". This mishap happened right in front of me, I was sleeping under stovepipe, they gave me some mittens, I closed my eyes and tried to connect it in the dark... And none of the searchers rushed out of the tent, and this "firefighter" was the only one outside. And then until the end of the night he didn’t even get back inside the tent, and spent the rest of the night sitting by the fire. I doubt he was a "fireman".
YK: The important question, of course, are the dates...
MSh: Well, then we are with Yuri, these dates, even the first meeting with him, went through and specified. There is confusion. Including the fact that on the 27th they found a tent, there is this, I read somewhere, it was wrong .. Here... this one also says the date ... on the 26th probably. Well, she writes the 26th. Not the 26th, but the 27th.
AK: After the cedar, when did they start looking in the stream? What was the approximate date? Or was it later, in March, in general?
MSh: So, at the beginning of April one of the groups noticed a spruce branches in the direction where they were found. They found a spruce branches sticking out of the snow. But then they didn't follow up on this idea to look in the area where the spruce branches were found in the snow, they moved away and didn't look any further. There wasn't much that they could do back then - there were no long probes, only short ones, they ordered long probes. And at the beginning of May the snow thawed, and the branches were discovered again, they seemed to have been broken down, it was then that they began to probe with long probes and, in I think they found Dubinina first. They felt her with the probe first, then began to dig...
AK: Did you see the den in the creek?
MSh: No. Because at that time I was... I was there for the second time at the end of April... I don’t know, I’m already thinking... no, there could be such a coincidence - maybe they intentionally removed me? We did not go to the pass for search, because there was rain, there was ice. We had a day for ourselves. And it got into my head somewhere after lunch to go out to ski. I rose a little higher than the forest level, did not reach the pass and went down, well, I skied down there. Skiing was good, it was exceptionally. I came to the tent, I said: "Guys, let's go skiing?" Well, a few people liked the idea. We climbed a little higher. I'm the first, of course, on a ready-made ski track. It spreads much over the ready-made ski track... and it’s so blown away... and there’s some kind of drain, a couloir in one place and trees seem to be on both sides, not so close, but I could no longer control the skis, they [the trees] merged into a single wall... But I felt that trees are coming in front of me, then I began to fall, so I leaned back from the skis, but when I fell back, I hit the snow with my rear, it lifted me up in the air, turned me in the air and turned my head forward into a birch, stuck into a tree like this across the forehead... broke two teeth, there was a slight concussion. And without waiting for our shift to end, I was taken from there by helicopter to Ivdel, and then I was lying with a concussion for 21 days in the hospital. After that we were replaced and the next group that found them in the stream.
– 8 –
YK: Was Ortyukov there all the time?
MSh: Yes. He was always there. I think that it is not known what would have ended if I hadn’t crashed there and started looking further, because I don’t even remember going back to the cedar, examining the place. We could have carefully examine the scene and deduce in which direction to look for them. Because when we arrived in 2001 and started from the cedar, I immediately began to notice old broken branches, it is clear that they are black ... and they were not covered in snow ... But then, of course, it was May, the snow has already melted a little, and in these places I was approximately in the direction in which I assumed that they were according to the descriptions, because I talked to the guys that found them. They told me... So, roughly went in this direction, and began to notice these things here. We quickly went out onto the sidelines, took photographs, compared with those old photographs that were and identified the place where the den could be. Well, according to the first descriptions of Yuri, he had such an assumption that it’s not on this sidelines, which flows into the tributary of Lozva, but in the inflow itself. The prevailing assumption was that the den was found in the tributary itself, and this contradicted with what I have researched since then. Indeed, we have found this stream, which is not at all the main tributary, and there are several ravines there, this is from the side of height 880, from the side of this spur (map). And, most importantly, they go - one... then you climb, you pass it, a short distance - and the cedar, and beyond the cedar the next one is just the same parallel stream... These marks are still there. If you look for them in the summer, you can see them, broken branches are visible and they were broken long time ago. It was good to see this den, perhaps something is still left of it. One question remains unclear to the end: there are seven or eight large branches, as I imagine, at least such thickness - they could not be cut with a knife, you know? So they chopped them with an ax, but they didn’t have an ax. Broke it? Yes, too, they could not break ... With what? Whether they did it or not a re-enactment of building the den could help - this issue could be investigated now, because, probably, the traces of this den have not decayed during this time, something could have remained.
AK: And who found them?
MSh: I don’t know at the moment. I know that Suvorov was in this search. You need to read carefully now, there is a record. Yuri has these notes who was there. Of course, not a single person found them there, because it was only a hunch that came to one, and there they were digging with the whole group purposefully. They dug all day, if not more. They dug up, first got to the bottom of one, and then ... because the 5-meter layer of snow, it is already frozen all, it needs to be excavated, which is not so simple.
AK: Did you talk to any of them?
MSh: No, I didn’t talk to anyone, at least not then. This is what happened: I was in the hospital then, they flew in and found them during this period, and I was somehow torn off somehow from such information. I was not even at the funeral.
AK: Now it’s not possible to find out, but Matveeva seems to have written that they got them before the prosecutor’s arrival?
MSh: No, in my opinion they didn’t go there, they were waiting. They waited for two days and were inquiring, judging by the radiograms ... So, in my opinion, they didn’t go there, maybe just one, or something... Yes, one, it seems...
YK: Well, this question is really for those who were there. If Suvorov, it will be necessary to contact him.
MSh: Yes, he will surely have some clearer memories, because he himself was present there. Moreover, he got sick there ... well, not right away, after that he got sick. He had a suspicion that due to contaminated water, they linked his disease with the environment...
YK: This is interesting...
MSh: Maybe from this point of view he will shed light. Moreover, there is a suspicion that at that moment when the streams flowed, it began to melt and started to run - it really flowed down from all the heights through this tributary, it was going in that direction.
AK: Somewhere was said that you, Slobtsov and Brusnitsyn were called upon arrival at the prosecutor's office?
MSh: Well, they didn’t call me in particular, but maybe they were, I don’t know how and why exactly, probably because I was not alone, but with Slobtsov, and he seemed to be the leader of the group, therefore most likely... Well, I had a conversation with the prosecutor only at the moment when they examined the tent. When things were sorted out, he said such a phrase, as if indirectly: "You do not talk around about all this. But when we find out all the circumstances, we will gather and tell you ..." Although none of that happened. I clearly remember this.
AK: Korotaev said this?
AK: You didn't sign any non-disclosure papers?
MSh: No. There, in fact, there is nothing with my signature. I don’t know how it happened, I ...
YK: They are not considered secret...
AK: And all sorts of (procedures) during your trip? There, registration in Vizhay?
MSh: Didn't happen. We were in Vizhay once, I made a helicopter landing for some purpose ... Nobody came to us.
– 9 –
AK: It says here that Maslennikov signed a non-disclosure?
MSh: And then, we were there for not so long. There’s nothing to talk about before the findings. And after we were there for three days and we were replaced, taken out, the whole group was replaced, [the group] which found the tent and the cedar.
AK: And the guys on the slope, that were supposedly going to the tent, when [were they found], in what sequence? Is this after the cedar?
MSh: It wasn't us who found them. First [was found] Kolmogorova, she was found, I think, by a trainer with a dog.
AK: Those closest to the tent. Did they go from the tent?
Navig:You probably made a mistake, in the conversation when you answer the question about the direction of their movement to the tent or from the tent? You say that they came from the tent.
MSh: No, I did not say that they were going to the tent, they were found on the straight line that connected the tent to the cedar, but the bodies were found in the position as if they were going to the tent.
MSh: From the tent. The next day, Dyatlov was found. Mansi found him. They follow their own omens. Then a few days later, Slobodin, two days, or something there is a break, they didn't find him right away. Kolmogorova and Dyatlov were found most likely on the 27th same day they arrived 27th and they found them. On the 29th they were taken to the pass. They were four all together. For transportation. We didn't carry them, others did, and no one flew with the bodies when they were taken away to Ivdel. We were also taken out around the same time, a little later. But I remember nobody flying with them.
YK: What is this fact, that the pilots refused to fly the bodies?
MSh: I haven't heard this. They were afraid of radiation, I think.
AK: They were afraid to carry or fly them?
MSh: No, they were not afraid to fly. They flew constantly, serving us, flew to the pass. But they had different information. That which was completely unknown to us. They talked there among themselves, and they saw from above. They had information probably. But they were also warned, so we did not hear anything from them. But I think that they were definitely afraid of radiation, infection, probably, something like this.
AK: When you found the tent and made your way inside, you took off your skis, didn’t go skiing?
MSh: Well, yes, we took them off somewhere.
AK: The snow was trampled there?
MSh: We found no extraneous traces there, of course. Because the wind was constantly blowing...
AK: You walked on the firn, did not fail?
MSh: Of course on the firn? Of course did not fail. But the only thing is, who saw the footprint in the boot? Could it be our trace? I don't think so, because I remember from that moment that one footprint was in a boot. I.e. it was recorded that [the footrpints] were barefoot and in felt boots [valenki] but one footprint was in a boot. The tracks were clearly visible. Just another thing, was there one boot or two? I think that nobody had two boots on their feet.
AK: One more question, was ther under the two bodies at the cedar reindeer hide or not?
MSh: Well, of course, I can’t confirm or deny. The hide could've been under the snow, we could not been able to see if it was there.
YK: So you did not dig, did not move [anything]?
MSh: Well, it could only be under the snow. I can explain this by the fact that the place is very noticeable, if the Mansi visit this area, they are also hunters, they hunt, if they didn't kill [game], then certainly they could come here. This is such a noticeable place under the cedar, it isn't by chnace that we notice it from above and came right there, because the place was very noticeable. The cedar stood out very strongly. The site was fairly even there, the tent could be put up. I think that in the same way it could attract hunters. This hide could be ...
AK: Was this Mansi lair?
MSh: Yes, they actually leave kindling in certain places. Under the same remnant, when we arrived in 2001 and began to look around this rock and look carefully, we found a kindling especially for a fire there, i.e. they leave things up to the point that they leave products somewhere stash for a rainy days. They follow their serifs, follow their signs, and their path is not random, they follow one track. If they go in the direction of Lozva, then they can go down, maybe through this place. And before it (hide - NAVIG) was under the snow, because they really didn’t lie on the bare ground, they lay on the snow, were covered with a blanket, they lay on the snow, and bare ground could have a little bit of this ground then it’s only the trunk itself at the cedar, where there was the fire. And the fact that near the cedar it seemed to be blown out by the wind, this terrain is higher. Now this will not happen anymore, because the birch tree has grown in a big circle and then there was only a bush around, there were no birch trees.
AK: Another question, what did the cache site [labaz] look like?
MSh: I didn’t see the cache site because others found it... maybe there were traces of the ski track, because it was below the forest tree line.
– 10 –
AK: So you came on the trail of the group after the cache site?
MSh: No, well, if so, we left their track before they reached the place where they built the cache site. So they followed the route in the upper reaches of Auspiya, we crossed it and found a ski track. Then they went from here, we lost the ski track, but judging by the records, they seemed to have climbed the pass at first, the weather was very bad, they didn’t continue to move on and returned to Auspiya, and they spent the night there. There they made a cache site. But we lost their track before reaching the border of the forest. This was much earlier ... the track was gone. In the forest, while the pine tree was large, and the spruce, you could still find it there, although it also quite blown over, it was so hard to advance, although it poured snow, but the groove was there, when you go down with the skis you fall less. In some places it was hard to see hence we fall so much. In some places where the wind was not quite so strong we could see some of the track, in another place we couldn’t find it at all. So we made our way, we maintained the general direction.
AK: Your main base camp, where you spent the night and where leave from [every morning], was it far from the cedar and...?
MSh: It was in a different valley down Auspiya, probably a couple of kilometers short of .. but if you take this line to the pass (map), somewhere 2-3 km, but not so far (map), because, when we skied back down, it seemed to us that we ... left behind the so-called guide, fireman, at the top and rushed down, it was already dark and flew back this distance in an instant...
AK: This is from the tent?
MSh: Yes. When we were going back to our friends...
AK: And this camp it remained there?
MSh: No, they moved it, just set up a camp in the valley of Auspiya, opposite the pass. Down there... well, probably 1.5 km is even less like 750 meters. There 350-400 meters go along a bare spot, and then the bushes begin, then more. The camp was where the trees were enough.
AK: And when the Mansi arrived, did they put their own tent [chum]?
MSh: They didn’t make a tent [chum]. They sleep in their hides.
YK: Right on the snow you in hides.
MSh: They do not take off their malitsa coats, and cover themselves with hides on top. Breathe ... Well, they have boilers, there are kettles.
AK: And what was the weather at that time?
MSh: The weather was normal. Down there you don't feel the wind. When you go up to the pass there is wind. But the day was nice clear sunny. By evening, the snow began. And the next day, when we found them under the cedar, there was no wind. But there were cases when we flew from there, there were several cases that we were waiting for the helicopter, it couldn't fly. Then it appears, it flies from the valley below, in the valley flies above the forest, then it rises along the tops of trees, creeps literally 20-30 meters from the ground, because it is cloudy from above, no visibility. Flies to the pass, lands down. We make our way with a pair of skis to the helicopter - it’s so blowing that it’s impossible to drag two skis, such a wind. Then he rises and takes off ... and back over the trees, flies away. They were looking for a place along the river, along Auspiya ... military pilots served us...
AK: And when were you replaced and sent to Yekaterinburg, what date?
MSh: In my opinion, on March 4th we flew away from the first search. We have proof somewhere. You can clarify later. They simply removed us, but there were a lot of people, trainers with dogs, Mansi remained. They, too, had not yet left. And another group of our hikers arrived. They were sent to different places. We were sent to the valleys of Lozva and Auspiya, and as soon as we found the tent, they began to take them off their routes and bring them where we were, so there were a lot of people there.
AK: According to Slobtsov, the tent had a wall of snow?
MSh: No, there was none of this.
AK: And the sheet that hung at the entrance? Could you see it?
MSh: Yes there was, it looks like there was. Maybe that's why they didn't try to go out through the entrance. On one side of the entrance there was a stove, there was something else they had there. Then it [the sheet] was hung up and it was necessary to leave the tent very quickly. I have such an opinion, to the question why they left the tent so urgently, there can be only one answer: life threatening factors, most likely poisoning. They could not breathe. If there was a movement of snow, they would not have run like that. At night they don’t see how much snow is moving, but the slide stopped. The tent was not demolished. After all, it didn’t grind everyone head over heels with the tent. I think that these were factors related to the unknown and the inability to continue to be here. Couldn't breathe! And the poisoning is such that they felt it. That's why they ran.
AK: And there couldn’t be snow second slide of snow?
MSh: No, there could be only one movement. They had no such danger as an avalanche on their heads.
YK: So it was something more serious?
MSh: It could be a light with strong sound. This could make them jump out, leave the tent. The guys who were at about the same time south in the hut in the forest, the officer on duty saw an approaching glowing sphere, Karelin, in my opinion, his group was much south, they immediately jumped out, slept already, in socks in everything, when he shouted, they flew out instantly to outside to see what it is? The rocket moved and passed over them, but they were in the forest, in the hut. No affecting factors on them other than visually... And there it was above the level of the forest, and then this glowing sphere could have moved from the south. And from the south we have a height. Because of the height, a kind of glow rises there, but nothing is visible, the sky just lit, and then suddenly is above them already.
Flash and explosion. And then just rocket fuel. They have traces of obvious poisoning for everyone. They all had nasopharynx filled with foam, these are clear signs of poisoning.
– 11 –
YK: In addition, our UPI specialists assumed that there could be neutron radiation, i.e. neutron weapon testing is basically the same factors. Then we must assume that they were all already taken out of the tent. Cut and taken out. Here Korotaev even says that it is cut from the inside.
MSh: The fact that [the tent] was cut from inside we could see even before the [official] examination, while taking the tent apart.
YK: You take a knife stick and pull towards you...
MSh: Outside, it would have been thrust once and dragged, and there were several attempts, several cuts from the inside, such weak punctures in the tent fabric were observed and then only a cut. We found this when examining the section still in place, and then the examination confirmed this. This this is not a gap, so it goes obliquely of the fibers, and the gap is either vertically or horizontally, where it is weaker there. We cut down part of the tent with an ice ax, i.e. we cut from the top through the bottom. We did damage, you could say it was necessary .. we had to find out if there was somebody inside, but I think that it could be done differently, it wasn't necessary to cut the tent. We could remove the snow. By the way this was done before the footprints were found. After we cut down the tent, they began to inspect and saw the tracks of footprints.
AK: And you got into the tent through your hole or?
MSh: Yes, through your own, not through the entrance. We didn't even try to go through the entrance.
YK: There [the entrance], all the more, was covered with a sheet.
MSh: Maybe we would have behaved differently if the ice axe was not perched there at the entrance, the tent was encapsulated with firn snow, we saw the ax, we needed to get inside the tent, of course, we grabbed an ice axe and started chopping. We did not have an ax or even a knife. Because we carried nothing but dry rations.
YK: So on the surface [of the tent] that is drawn there in the case, part of it are your holes?
MSh: Yes of course. There are two slots obliquely and down, these holes were made with a knife, but on the ridge of the tent, in the center, for example, there is another big hole - we cut it. There, there’s still some sort of lost flap, this is what inflicted...
AK: There was no snow inside the tent?
MSh: Yes, there was no snow.
AK: Despite the holes and the wind?
MSh: The cut was on the leeward side, and so it fell, as it were, on the holes...
End of recording
MSh: …They arrived as soon as we found... They opened the case officially on February 28th. But in fact, we know that the case was opened on February 4, i.e. three days after their death.
Navig: Where did you get this information?
MSh: When the case was reviewed in the archive by Y. Yudin, there was a note on the very cover that the case was opened on February 4. The case was first initiated at the moment when they discovered the tent, they still found the tent first, those people who were covering there, who were watching the launch of the rockets. In fact, their death was discovered earlier, and the case was opened on February 4
Navig: And Yuri Yudin saw this on the cover?
MSh: He clearly saw this inscription, he also took a copy from the file of the case. So we have copy of it. So there is a second case, so follows from these documents ... the pages are removed from this case, there are no histological analysis results, and Yuri gave samples. These materials were classified , because there is a reference in the archive where they are stored. Store an open case in one place, and store the package and parts of this case in secret proceedings. Resolution of the prosecutor Klimov, or something.
Navig: Do you have a photo of the tributary of Lozva where they were found?
MSh: I do not have this photo. Yudin has it, that's for sure. We compared this view in 2001 with the one when it was photographed at the time of the search for photographs and, guided by these photographs, we looked for a place and then we photographed ourselves. So Yudin has photographs both old and from 2001.
MSh: About Dyatlov, Yudin says that post-mortem spots do not coincide with the position of the body. He thinks the corpse was turned.
Navig: Were there any restrictions where to look during the search, because Akselrod in the TAU film says that they were not allowed to go where they would like to go?
MSh: No, the fact is that we were the very first and there was no one at all. Subsequently, there could have influenced them. Akselrod was probably right. But with us this was not the case. We then received instruction from our own, i.e. our only binding was the route they were supposed to follow, we were looking for their real ski track along this route. Then we found them and went to the pass.
– 12 –
Answers of M. P. Sharavin over the phone to Interent-Center for Dyatlov Tragedy 08 Nov 2007
Navig: Mihail Petrovich? Hi. I’m calling about Dyatlov case. We have a number of questions for you in connection with an article by Zinoviev E. He writes that you (your search group), when you went down to the cedar, examined the traces of Dyatlov group left during their descent from the tent to the cedar and traces were found and from the tent and near the cedar?
Navig: And how many tracks were there? The same 9 or not? And at what distance from the cedar?
MSh: It was impossible to count there near the cedar, place was swept by the wind... Something was near the cedar itself. The first tracks we found from the tent in the distance, but at the first moment we did not explore the area. We see the tracks went down, maybe we could trace (them) within 100 meters of the tent. But then when they began to find them, 800 meters down, there were already no tracks. They found them [the bodies] by other signs.
Navig: The question is that if the cedar had traces of the Dyatlov group, then they all came down to it.
MSh: There the number of tracks could not be counted. At that time, the cedar was not in the forest as it is now, and it was as if on a hillock, and there snow was swept to the ground near it, there were traces in a figurative sense there was a fire, broken branches and all that, but no traces in the snow.
Navig: So there were no tracks in the snow?
Navig:Thanks for the answers.
– 13 –
Transcript of the conversation of "Center for Civil Investigation of the Dyatlov Tragedy" (Navig)
with rescuer M. Sharavin (MSh) 16 Jan 2007
Navig: Mihail Petrovich, hi! We are discussing the location of the cedar and stream, which turns out to be different in different sources. Can you tell us exactly how everything was connected there?
MSh: Yes of course. Do you have a map with all the streams?
Navig: Yes there is a map with 500 marking. There are 4 tributaries of Lozva, two small streams flow into the 4 tributaries
MSh: If we look from the side of height 1079 from the side of the tent, towards Lozva, then we see this 4 tributary. It originates to the left of this mountain. Then it is at the border of the forest, now a little lower, turns left.
Navig: This is height 905, it goes around the mountain.
MSh: In old maps is marked 880. So it turns away at the level of this height 880 to the left, and goes into the forest. Here where it turns away...
Navig: Two small tributaries.
MSh: Yes, on the right side, the first and second. So I think the cedar stood between these two tributaries.
Navig: Is it far to the main 4 tributary?
MSh: Well, probably 100 meters, not far. Because when we found the cedar, we did not go down to the main tributary. We went down into the first ravine, and there is a platform.
Navig: Ravine of the streams?
MSh: Yes, the ravine of streams, well then they were covered with snow, but we flew in 2001 and all this was confirmed. Then this platform was as if flat. Now it is overgrown with birch trees.
Navig: And the cedar stands there...
MSh: Yes, he stood out then
Navig: And were there other cedars around?
MSh: Now there are similar cedars around and can be confused.
Navig: Here are pictures of the 2008 expedition. There are two cedars visible one straight and another inclined.
MSh: But if you come close to them, you can distinguish them. On that cedar under which the bodies lay, branches are broken - it was the case then and still to this day...
Navig: Is it inclined or straight? Where the bodies were...
MSh: Straight. Well, these boughs they were then visible. And in 2001, near it were visible old stumps from then broken off fir trees. They were visible that it was impossible to confuse.
Navig: And which direction was the den?
MSh: If you draw a perpendicular from the cedar to the line of the stream, then at the intersection of the second stream there was the den. There are no more than 100 meters, according to records like 75 meters.
Navig: I.e. in the second creek?
MSh: Yes in the second. And according to the documents it was completely impossible to determine where and what. I determined this place by three criteria: 1. According to the descriptions that the guys told me when they found it. How did they find it? They went from this cedar further to the opposite side of the tent, and where the branches were sticking out of the snow, they started digging and found the den. Then the photo was of the place where the den was up the stream. And we compared this photo with the area. And the third, in the direction of the second ravine from the cedar, I found stumps there and the direction was taken along them. But when we were there in 2001, the ravine was covered with snow and we could not find the den. But in summer it can be found, i.e. rotting for 50 years still something must have remained.
MSh: And then, if you look carefully, you can find the stumps from which the flooring was cut...
Navig: Then Yuri Koptelov was right that there were ravines and they had to climb up on the skis to the cedar. And what did Dyatlov group do - scramble?
MSh: He's right... well, of course, we climbed. We went down with him, then climbed a little, because it was clean enough under the cedar, but there was a little undergrowth and snow was swept under the cedar and this area stood out...
Navig: Koptelov then says that they were lying heads to each other, but in the photo they are lying next to each other. It seems that in this case they were dragged from the cedar.
MSh: It seems to me that the bodies were next to each other...
Navig: 2 meters from the cedar. Behind the cedar in the direction to the tent.
MSh: Yes, it was. They themselves did not lie down so much that they were laid.
Navig: Could Koptelov seen them before you or later? Have you been together?
MSh: No. We went down together, and we found them at the cedar. He could have been there the next day; to show them to someone. But I was upset enough and did not want to go down again...
Navig:Well, thank you Mihail Petrovich for the information...
© "Interent-Center for Dyatlov Tragedy"