Novye Izvestia has more than once published materials dedicated to the mysterious death on February 2, 1959, of nine tourist students of the Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI) in the northern Urals. Many people have heard about this tragedy both in Russia and in the USSR and far abroad. She is dedicated not only to many articles, TV reports and programs, but also a feature film shot in Hollywood. Over the years, various, sometimes the most exotic versions of the death of tourists have been put forward, however, over time, additional information appeared that was not attached to the criminal case. He restored the missing "links in the chain" in his material
Many people in Russia, in the USSR and far abroad have heard about the tragic death on February 2, 1959 of nine tourist students of the Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI) in the northern Urals.
Over the past time, many articles have been published on this topic in the media, and there have been many reports and discussions on television. In the USA, in Hollywood at the XX century studio in 2013, they even shot a feature film.
The event attracted wide public attention due to the fact that the investigation carried out in 1959 by the Sverdlovsk prosecutor's office did not give a clear answer about the reasons for the death of young people.
In the decision to terminate the criminal case, prosecutor L.N. Ivanov literally said the following: “Considering the absence of external bodily injuries and signs of struggle on the corpses, the presence of all the values of the group, and also taking into account the conclusion of the forensic medical examination about the causes of death of tourists, it should be considered that the cause of the death of tourists was a spontaneous force, to overcome which the tourists were not able to".
The uncertainty of the conclusion of the investigation about "elemental force" gave rise to a lot of fiction (sometimes offensive), mysticism and fears. Many different ridiculous versions have been put forward, from UFO attacks, Bigfoot, and to American spies. Over time, additional information appeared in various media sources, which was not attached to the criminal case, and therefore no real reasons were given.
It remains now only to supplement the missing "links in the chain" of interrelated events in order to tell about the tragedy that happened...
Let's leave the details that have already been told and highlight the main thing that was missed.
So, a group of students and graduates of UPI in the amount of ten people (one got sick on the way and came back) on January 26, 1959 left the city of Ivdel, Sverdlovsk region. Passing the villages of Vizhay and Severny, then they set off on their own on skis for a two-week trek to Mount Otorten (1234 m) in the northern Urals.
The tourists laid their route along the sleigh-reindeer trail of hunters of the local northern people of Mansi.
Some students kept their diaries on the way. Interesting (and important to better understand what happened) are their observations.
Entry from the diary of the group leader, fifth-year student Igor Dyatlov:
January 28, 1959 ... Having talked, we crawl into the tent together. The suspended stove radiates heat and divides the tent into two compartments.
30.01.59 “Today is the third cold overnight stay on the bank of the river. Auspiya. We start to get involved. The stove is a great thing. Some (Thibault and Krivonischenko) are thinking of constructing steam heating in a tent. Canopy - hanging sheets are quite justified. Weather: temperature in the morning - 17 ° С, in the afternoon - 13 ° С, in the evening - 26 ° С.
The reindeer trail ended, a torn trail began, and then it ended. We walked virgin lands very hard, snow up to 120 cm deep. The forest is gradually thinning, the height is felt, birches and pines are dwarf and ugly. It is impossible to walk along the river - it is not frozen, but under the snow the water and ice, right there on the track, we go along the shore again. The day is approaching evening, we must look for a place for a bivouac. Here is a stop for the night. The wind is strong from the west, knocking the snow off the cedar and pine trees, creating the impression of a snowfall”.
During the trip, the guys took pictures of themselves and their pictures were preserved.
The photo shows the students of the deceased ski group on the way of their route.
31.01.59 “We went to the border of the forest. The wind is westerly, warm and piercing, the wind speed is similar to the air speed when an airplane is lifting. Nast, bare places. You don't even have to think about the construction of a lobaz. About 4 hours. You need to choose an overnight stay. We go down to the south - into the valley of the river. Auspiya. This is probably the most snowy place. Light wind on snow 1.2-2 m thick. Tired, exhausted, they set about arranging for the night. Little firewood. Frail raw spruce. The fire was built on logs, reluctance to dig a hole. We will have dinner right in the tent. Heat. It is difficult to imagine such comfort somewhere on the ridge, with a piercing howling wind, hundreds of kilometers from settlements.
Today we had a surprisingly good overnight stay, warm and dry, despite the low temperature (-18 ° -24 °). It is especially difficult to walk today. The trace is not visible, we often stray from it or go groping. Thus, we pass 1.5-2 km per hour.
I am at an excellent age: the nonsense has already disappeared, and it is still far from marasmus... Dyatlov.
On February 1, 1959, at about 5 pm, the students set up their tent for the last time on the gentle slope of Mount Kholatchakhl (1079 m) below 300 meters from its top.
The guys photographed the place where and how they set up the tent. - The evening is frosty and windy. A blizzard is blowing. The picture shows how skiers on the slope dig deep snow to the ground, being in their hoods, and how a strong wind sweeps the snow into the hole.
1.02.59 Fighting leaflet №1 "Evening Otorten" - written by students in a tent before going to bed: "Is it possible to warm nine tourists with one stove and one blanket? A team of radio technicians consisting of Comrade Doroshenko and Kolmogorova set a new world record in the stove assembly competition - 1 hour 02 minutes. 27.4 sec.
The slope of Mount Kholatchakhl is 25-30 degrees. When setting up the tent, the guys did not expect an avalanche from the top. The hill was not so steep, and by the beginning of February the crust was strong that it could hold a man without skis.
In the entries from the diary, it is highlighted that they had a collapsible stove, and they stoked it during the campaign. The stove was hung right inside the tent and it was very hot from it!
Those who lived in the north know that a blizzard blows on the eaves of the roofs, along the edges of the ravines (in this case, over the pit with a tent), a large, heavy snow "cornice".
When the tent was buried deep in a hole on the side of the mountain and the furnace was heated, the heat melted the snow around and above us. In the cold, the molten snow quickly froze, turning into a solid edge of ice, which later played its role, which will be discussed below.
After having supper in the warmth, they took off the stretch marks and put the heated, cooled stove in the corner of the tent, left a couple of logs to dry in it the next day for kindling (for a torch), taking off their shoes and warm outerwear, the guys went to bed.
But after a few hours something happened that soon determined their fate ...
Let's move a little from the topic
Since March 1957, in the Arkhangelsk region, just at the latitude of the northern Urals, the construction of the "Northern" (at that time secret) Plesetsk cosmodrome began to launch ballistic missiles across the Pole and the Arctic Ocean. In February 1959, the cosmodrome was (according to its tasks) renamed the 3rd Training Artillery Range . From 1957 to 1993, 1,372 ballistic missile launches were made from the test site. For example, the R-12 medium-range ballistic missile of the surface-to-surface class: it was mobilely moved by a caterpillar tractor, launched from any place from the launch pad, its maximum flight length (2200 km), fuel components (nitric acid and kerosene). The launch weight is 47.1 tons, the rocket is 22.1 m long, and 1.65 m in diameter. The R-12 rocket was tested in 1957-1958. Serial production of missiles began in October 1958 at plant # 586. (This information is from Wikipedia and other open sources in the media).
Rocket firing with long-range ballistic missiles was carried out at an established target at the Kura training ground in Kamchatka, which is 500 km away. north of the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Spent stages of missiles (emergency missiles) with remnants of liquid fuel (charge) fell, burning up over uninhabited areas.
From Plesetsk to the Dyatlov pass (according to Yandex line) 995 km. If we draw a straight line from the Plesetsk cosmodrome to the Kura test site in Kamchatka, then the trajectory of the missiles will pass directly over the area where the students spent the night on February 1, 1959. Therefore, many residents of the surrounding places often noticed burning fires (balls), flying missiles in the cloudless night sky.
The R-12 ballistic missile could also be launched from the "Southern" test site of Baikonur in Kazakhstan in the direction of the uninhabited north to Novaya Zemlya. From the "Yuzhny" landfill to the Dyatlov pass (along the ruler) 1772 km. The missile's flight range allowed it to fly freely over the Ural cities, although this was associated with some degree of risk.
The falling, burning rocket stage (emergency rocket) over the mountainside, where the students spent the night, was photographed (with a diaphragm delay) by the instructor of the group A. Zolotarev. While in the tent, he saw a bright light outside through the fabric walls. He, as an instructor, probably went to the extreme from the entrance, so without dressing (he had black quilted cloaks on his feet, in which he was found after death) rushed out to photograph what was happening. - This was the last shot.
On the left in the picture, you can see the traces of the falling rocket (its part), and in the center of the frame there is a light spot (octagon) from the camera diaphragm. Judging by the picture, the snowstorm had settled by nightfall, the frosty sky had cleared up a little, and the falling object was no more than 1 - 1.5 kilometers away.
Many other people who were far from this place at that time were also witnesses of this glow in the night sky. On Sunday, February 1, they (according to recollections from the media) went home late in the evening after an evening movie session.
In the USSR, on the day off, cinema in rural clubs all began at the same time from 20-00 to 21-00. This means that in time the visible glow that occurred in the sky was between 22 and 24 hours of the night.
It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that February 2, 1959 was Monday - the beginning of the working week (for the military too).
Late in the evening (at the beginning of the night) on February 1, not far above Mount Kholatchakhl, a flash occurred in the air, and then a powerful explosion.
A burning, falling "star" in the sky and the sound of a powerful explosion (like thunder) were heard by people being many kilometers away.
Whether it was a rocket stage exploded with incompletely burnt fuel remaining in it, or it was a rocket deviating from a given flight trajectory, which was automatically detonated, or a falling rocket (stage) was shot down by another rocket as a training target - it does not matter that specifically was the source of the explosion.
The blast wave shook the snow on the mountainside.
There was no massive avalanche, as the tent remained in place.
On top of the snow on the mountain was a heavy layer of snow crust (sometimes called a "board"). The crust is thick and hard rather than a board, but an icy, multi-layered heavy "plywood sheet". So durable that people ran and walked in the snow without shoes, without falling through. This can be seen from the footprints going down the mountain from the tent.
A snapshot of footprints from the mountain from an abandoned tent (below) was taken later, around February 26, 1959, by members of the search group.
So. On February 1, in record time, the guys assembled and fired the stove, dined in a tent, took off and dried their outerwear and shoes, and went to bed with their heads to the top of the mountain. As mentioned above, during the installation of the tent (seen from the photo) there was a blizzard, and therefore a "hat" (heavy mass of snow) blew over the edge of the tent from the side of the mountain top , and the heat from the furnace melted the edges of the snow, turning it into a hard edge, which from the side of the mountain, it hung over them like an "ice cornice".
After an explosion in the air, this "cornice" with an effort from the blast wave, collapsed on the tent, on the bodies and heads of people sleeping in it.
One of the tent poles (the bamboo ski pole far in the photo) was broken. If the stand broke, then perhaps the effort was quite enough to crush and break the ribs of people who were not expecting anything, relaxed (sleeping) people under the weight of the snow with a hard edge of ice.
Subsequently, a forensic medical examination found broken ribs in two of the children and in two more cracks (6 cm long) on the skull.
The students in the complete darkness of the tent, awakened by the sound of a nearby explosion and covered with a mass of snow, of course, could not assess the real danger that arose.
The ice cornice with snow that fell on them was considered an avalanche. Being in the dark in ignorance and in a state of shock, under the fear of being buried alive under the snow, the guys instantly cut the tent from the inside and, without shoes (in only socks), and without warm outerwear, jumped out, rushing into the darkness of the night, down the slope mountains from an avalanche. Soon, realizing that there was no avalanche, the guys could not immediately turn back to the tent for warm clothes, since an unknown asphyxiating gas (probably nitrogen dioxide) was spreading from the side of the mountain from the explosion of rocket fuel. The wind, like the night before, blew in their direction. The guys, in order not to get gas poisoning, were forced to go down, believing to wait out the time until the gas dispersed over the mountain, the air was cleared, and then they would return back.
The photo of the tent dated February 26, 1959 shows that the entrance to it is blocked up. The search engines said that there was dense snow (15-20 cm) in the middle of the tent. On the evening of February 1, there was a blizzard and, of course, there was more loose snow on the tent. But by the time the investigation team arrived, the loose snow had blown off the mountain. This can be seen in the photograph (below) - from the left prints of footprints, towering over the solid crust.
Going down (running, walking) 1.5 km down to the forest, the guys only there were able to soberly assess the new situation and another threat to life - death from hypothermia.
They had 1-3 hours to live without shoes and outer clothing in the cold and in the wind.
As established by the posthumous examination (by the remains of food in the stomach), death occurred 6-8 hours after the last meal. If their dinner ended at 19-20 hours, then the guys froze between 2-4 a.m. (or early in the morning on February 2).
The air temperature in the early morning of February 2 was about - 28 ° C (different sources call different numbers), but judging by the previous days, from the records of the guys themselves in their diaries, it was rather low.
Students in the wind could not make a fire for a long time, since there were many dead matches lying near the fire. And when they lit a fire under the cedar, they tried to get warm at first. But they quickly realized that without outerwear and shoes in the cold, even being by the fire, one could not get warm. Having figured out that nothing more than the cold threatens them, the three ran back up the hill to the tent for warm clothes and shoes, but they did not have enough strength for this. On the way up the mountain from fatal hypothermia, all three fell and froze there.
Subsequently, two were found frozen under a cedar by an extinct fire. Four more (three of them with fractures) tried to hide from the cold wind in a ravine. At the bottom of the ravine, they made a flooring of branches, but this did not save them, they also froze.
The children with fractures (according to the conclusion of the forensic medical examination) had internal bleeding, which they received before death from freezing. Therefore, forensic experts in 1959 concluded that their violent death due to external force of influence.
What was this external force?
- It is possible that the fractured ribs and cracks in the skull were obtained from an explosion in the air, when four guys, seeing a bright light through the walls of the tent, curiously, jumped out and watched the falling rocket. An explosion occurred a few seconds after burning. And the fractures were the result of the impact of the blast wave, which threw and knocked people off their feet.
Or the guys were lying in a tent and were injured from the collapse of a mass of icy dense snow from the "cornice". It is no longer possible to set up exactly where the guys were at the time of the explosion, outside or inside the tent. Now only they themselves could tell where they were at the moment of the explosion. Instructor Zolotarev photographed the falling object and most likely that the explosion caught him outside and from him he received multiple fractures of his ribs.
The ravine, in which four children hid from the cold wind, was subsequently covered with snow and the frozen people were found later than all others only on May 4, 1959. Radiation (spots) was found on the clothes of those covered with a snowstorm.
In the USSR, according to the chronology of tests of thermonuclear bombs in the period from 09/30/1958 to 10/25/1958 at the Dry Nose test site of Novaya Zemlya Island in the Arctic Ocean (according to the map opposite the Ural mountains), 19 explosions were made in the atmosphere.
Radiation from the upper layers of the atmosphere fell on the ground with snow in the winter of 1958-1959 (including on the territory of the northern Urals). It was a snowstorm that carried her down the mountain into a ravine.
In the picture below, the location of the discovery of four bodies, swept under deep snow, in a ravine.
Returning to the materials of the criminal case.
Witness A.K. Krivonischenko at the investigation he testified : “After the burial of my son on March 9, 1959, at my apartment there were students at dinner, participants in the search for nine tourists. Among them were those tourists who in late January - early February were on a hike in the north, somewhat south of Mount Otorten. There were apparently at least two such groups; at least the participants of two groups said that on February 1, 1959, in the evening , they observed a light phenomenon north of the location of these groups: an extremely bright glow of some kind of rocket or shell.
The glow was constantly strong that one of the groups, being already in the tent and getting ready to sleep, were alarmed by this glow, left the tent and observed this phenomenon. After a while, they heard a sound effect similar to a strong thunder from afar.
Investigator L.N. Ivanov, who was finishing the case: "... a similar ball was seen on the night of the death of the children, that is, from February 1 to February 2, tourist students of the Geological Faculty of the Pedagogical Institute."
For example, what the father of Lyudmila Dubinina, in those years a responsible employee of the Sverdlovsk Economic Council, said during interrogation in March 1959: “... I heard the conversations of students of the Ural Polytechnic Institute (UPI) that the flight of naked people from the tent was caused by an explosion and high radiation ..., The light of the projectile was seen in the town of Serov on February 2 at about seven o'clock in the morning. I am surprised why tourist routes from Ivdel were not closed ...
An excerpt from the interrogation protocol of Vladimir Mikhailovich Slobodin - the father of Rustem Slobodin: “From him (the chairman of the Ivdel City Council A.I.Delyagin) I heard for the first time that around the time when a catastrophe happened to the group, some residents (local hunters) observed the appearance in the sky of some kind of fireball. The fact that the fireball was observed by other tourists - students told me E.P. Maslennikov ".
The individual characteristics of the injuries to the bodies of some of the victims do not change the overall picture of what happened. The damage only served to misleading speculation.
For example, frozen foam from the mouth of one is explained by vomiting, which occurs after a concussion or after inhalation of carbon monoxide residues from rocket fuel scattered in the air over the mountain.
Searchers noted burnt ends of spruce twigs (chemical burns from nitrogen dioxide, fuel components). This is also the reason for the unusually red-orange color of the skin on the surfaces of corpses exposed to the sun. Damage (nose, eyes, tongue) on the already dead body was done by mice or birds of prey.
The investigation in 1959 did not dare to name the real reason that caused the death of students at night 2.02.1959 - from the explosion of a rocket in the air, which caused the collapse of the snow "cornice" on the tent on Mount Holatchakhl.
In addition, the investigation at that time did not have any information about the existence of the Plesetsk cosmodrome itself, or about the tests of ballistic missiles.
Investigator of the Sverdlovsk prosecutor's office V. Korotaev, who was the first to start the case (later in the years of publicity), said: “... I am invited by the first secretary of the (Sverdlovsk) city party committee, Prodanov, and transparently hinted: there is, they say, a proposal to close the case. Clearly, not his personal, not otherwise as an instruction from above. At my request, the secretary then called Andrei Kirilenko (the first secretary of the Sverdlovsk regional party committee). And I heard the same thing: stop the case!
Literally a day later, investigator Lev Ivanov took him into his own hands, who quickly turned him off ... ”. - With the above formulation about "irresistible elemental force."
Military secrets are now an insurmountable "deaf, silent wall".
But, as it is said: "There is nothing secret that would not become apparent, and there is nothing hidden that would not come out." (Mark 4-22).
Where history begins, there is its end
To finish this story, you just need to look in the archives of the missile forces of the USSR Ministry of Defense for information about the launch of the rocket on 02/01/1959.
Taking into account their expensive cost, rockets were not fired often (1-3 times a month). The launch of each rocket was recorded and tracked.
Having opened the archives, it will be clear: who, where, where and which rocket launched.
This should have been done from the very beginning of the investigation, but as already mentioned, the investigation was forcedly terminated. The prosecutor's office was not allowed at one time and, probably, is still not allowed to do so.
All secrets, whoever they are, in one way or another, harm people.
Secrets are called secrets, because it is a shame to speak openly about them because of their immoral nature. For on the “forehead” of every mystery is always inscribed with the same word - “vice”.
As the wise Chinese thinker Lao Tzu remarked: "Even the best weapon does not presage well".