When nine Russian cross-country skiers entered the treacherous Russian mountains, in January of 1959, nobody expected that their story would become a mystery that would last decades. This perplexing story begins with a trek to the Dyatlov Pass that resulted in no survivors.
On January 25, 1959, a ski instructor, three engineers, and seven Soviet Union Ural Polytechnic Institute students were set to embark on an expedition through the Urals. The group was led by a man named Igor Dyatlov, the person whom the pass would eventually be named after. One member of the group fell ill and stayed behind at an outpost. Some might later say he was lucky.
The group was meant to arrive in Vizhai on February 11th; however, the families of the nine explorers failed to receive any word of their safe journey. For the first week, nobody was overly concerned, believing that perhaps the journey was just taking longer than they initially believed. After one week without telegrams, military planes and helicopters were taking flight in the hopes that they would find signs of survival.
On February 25th, searchers spotted something. It was an abandoned camp, including a damaged tent and barefoot human prints scattered through the snow. Searchers followed the prints to the remains of a fire in addition to two sets of frozen human remains, both wearing underwear and no shoes. Another body was found nearby, apparently dead as a result of hypothermia.
With the thaw of spring emerging, several other bodies were found. They appeared to have severe chest injuries, as if they had been hit by a car. One of the trekkers had her tongue pulled out.
Investigators noted that there were no animal tracks nearby, and the group had time to try to start a fire before they were killed. The bodies were untouched by animals, and the group’s tent had been torn from the inside as if they were unable to get out.
So many theories have emerged about the Dyatlov Pass incident, with some suspecting that the group was killed by Mansi tribesman and others believing that aliens had attacked. The trekker left behind ascribed to the belief that the group had stumbled upon a secret military testing, and many believe that the group fear an avalanche.
At this point, it is unclear what led the group to their demise in the frigid mountains.
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