YEKATERINBURG, January 14. /TASS/. Cold killed a trekker whose body was found at a distant Ural mountains pass cloaked in mystery for decades, local investigators said on Thursday.
Hypothermia is thought to have claimed the climber's life at the ill-famed northern Dyatlov Pass, where nine hikers died in 1959 giving rise to years of legend and speculation of violent demise.
"No injuries were found on the body. We saw obvious signs of hypothermia," said senior investigator Alexander Shulga, reporting discovery of the man’s identity documents, his backpack, camera and other belongings. He was identified as a 47-year-old man native to Kazakhstan and living in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region.
Tourists from neighboring Perm region found the body on January 8 but rescuers could reach the site only on January 13 after tackling more than 200 kilometers on snowmobiles through severe weather conditions.
Rescuers plan to leave the mountain area on January 15, taking the body for forensic examination and ruling on the cause of death at a site known for an event that took the lives of nine Soviet hikers in mysterious and tragic circumstances in February 1959.
The pass is named after Igor Dyatlov, who led a group of graduates from the Ural Polytechnic Institute who planned to trek 350 kilometers on skis to Mount Otorten - translating into the local Mansi language as 'Don't go there'.
The case has been the subject of documentaries, movies and computer games, and still remains surrounded with controversy. Hundreds of theories about the incident have been put forward - from natural disaster (an avalanche) to aliens, paranormal activity or secret Soviet weapons.