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They Fled the Tent to Their Deaths. Now, a Search for Why

Russia to reinvestigate the Dyatlov Pass Incident
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2019 11:00 AM CST
A view of the tent as the rescuers found it on Feb. 26, 1959.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – On January 23, 1959, 10 students set off on a skiing trip in Russia's Ural Mountains. One became sick and bowed out. The other nine didn't make it out alive, and though their bodies were recovered, the mystery of how they met their end has persisted for 60 years. Now, Russian prosecutors will employ modern technology in their new investigation into what's known as the Dyatlov Pass Incident. CNN reports the prosecutor's office says there've been 75 theories proposed over the years, with the more outlandish ones involving aliens and a secret weapons test. In this investigation, only the three theories considered most likely will be pursued: that there was an avalanche, a snow slab, or a hurricane. Here's what's known so far, and what prosecutors are considering:

  • Igor Dyatlov, a fifth-year student at Ural Polytechnic Institute, was leading a group of men and two women on what was to be a 16-day, roughly 200-mile trip. All were described as experienced hikers, and journals found after their death recorded what sounded like an ordinary trip.
  • When the group wasn't heard from, a search was organized and began on Feb. 20. Six days later their tent was found—sliced open from the inside. Listverse reports warm clothing, compasses, axes, and knives were left behind in the tent. The next day, two bodies were recovered, roughly a mile away, clad only in underwear, and by a campfire. Three more bodies were recovered shortly after; the other four emerged in May when the snow melted.

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