In the winter of 1959 a group of nine hikers, led by Igor Dyatlov, disappeared in northern Ural Mountains.
A month later, rescuers found their tent, cut to pieces, and within a radius of a kilometer and a half from it – five frozen bodies. The of the other bodies were not found until May. Almost all the bodies were swollen and half-naked. Some had fatal injuries. It is still unclear why those young people fled to their doom half-naked in the bitter cold.
In the years of investigating this tragedy one thing is clear – the mystery of what happened in the Dyatlov Pass is not kept by people as much as by documents.
It all starts with a telegram
On February 26, 1959 the older sister of one of the missing hikers Alexander – Rima Kolevatova, sent a telegram to Nikita Khrushchev himself.
„Dear Nikita Sergeyevich!
On February 9 –a date set beforehand, a group of tourists from the Polytechnic Institute of Sverdlovsk did not return from their hike in the northern Urals. The search began late, after 10 whole days had passed. Regional organizations have not taken any effective actions yet. We ask for your help for the urgent search for our children. Every hour counts now“
Curiously, worried about the disappearance of tourists, Rima Kolevatova deliberately colors the circumstances and names an incorrect date for the supposed return of group. Here’s what she told the investigator in the interrogation of April 14, 1959 .: „The group had to return in Sverdlovsk on 14-15 February. On 12 February they had to send a telegram from Vijay, the final destination on their route, with a message that they arrived there. “
Kolevatova’s telegram arrived in the Kremlin on February 27. It is possible that it was the signal that „stirred things up with the authorities “ since a secret document follows the telegram.
On February 28, 1959 the Minister of Internal Affairs of the USSR received a special message signed by Minister of the RSFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic):
„… A group of 9 students from the Ural Polytechnic Institute of started from Ivdelski region of Sverdlovsk area to perform 300-kilometer ski march route north of the mountains. Ivdel is a part of the Otorten mountains. On February 19, the institute turned to the local party and state authorities with a request to assist in the search of the students.
A helicopter delivered a search party of trained skiers from the institute and workers from the Ivdelsky Correctional labour camp in the area of Mount Otorten. On 26 February the tent was found and on 27 February, 1 km away – 4 bodies, covered by snow… “
Alpinists from Moscow fly to the North Urals together with investigators. They were sent by the Union of sports societies and other organizations of the RSFSR. Their task was to assess how the search was going and to find out what haa happened to the hikers.
On March 23, 1959 they wrote a report to the Central Committee of the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union). Here are some of the most interesting quotes:
„On February 1, the group builds a shelter, leaves most of their supplies and head for the pass around 15:00h. At nightfall, between 17:00 or 18:00 h, the group stopped and pitched a tent over the pass’s plateau, on the slope of mountain 1079. If we consider that pitching the tent in these conditions took not less than an hour, it can be assumed that the people entered the tent around 19:00 -20:00 h. The logs show that the weather these days had gradually deteriorated – the wind was hard and the temperature dropped to -25°.“
From the authors: We would like to know what kind of logs gave the Moscow tourists such details of time and temperature. There is no such information in the notorious diaries of Kolmogorov, Dubinin and the general log of the group. We believe this to be another hint that not all available evidence was presented in the in the official file.
„Exiting the tent happened very quickly, without allowing a single minute delay. Hence the reason which forced the tourists to leave the tent may have been only fear of immediate death. “
Authors: Notice that the Moscow people did not indicate what drove the group out of the tent. They did not know that. But to others, the superiors, everything was clear by May 1959, as evidenced by the next secret document.
The answer to the telegram
On May 30, 1959 Deputy Head of Department for administrative and commercial-financial authorities of the CC of the CPSU of the RSFSR Drozdov wrote a report to the higher authorities (perhaps to Khrushchev himself?) about what happened to Dyatlov’s group.
„The death occurred as a result of a natural disaster. The immediate cause of death was a hurricane.“
Author: If the tourists were indeed killed by a hurricane, why were the documents classified? Why at the height of the investigation when they discovered the latest, most traumatized bodies, the case was urgently closed with misty wording of „force of nature“?
Why they informed the relatives that their children died as a result of an accident, but did not explain what this accident was? There are many questions on this case are, but none of them are answered to this day. 57 years later!