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Dyatlov Pass incident investigators publish book unlocking its "mysteries"

September 14, 18:39 UTC+3 YEKATERINBURG
According to the head of the Dyatlov Group Memorial Fund, the material gathered while working on the book is sufficient to resume the official investigation
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© AP Photo/Mike Alban/archive

YEKATERINBURG, September 14. /TASS/. The investigators into the hikers group death which occurred at the Dyatlov Pass, in the Northern Urals, overnight to 2 February 1959, have released a new book containing various versions of the tragedy. According to the head of the Dyatlov Group Memorial Fund, Yuri Kuntsevich, the book describes all the versions of the incident so everybody can find an a key to unlocking this fifty-year-old mystery to his or her liking.

The book entitled "The Dyatlov Pass" contains more than 500 pages, and had 40 people working on the book including researches, people familiar with the investigation of the hikers’ death, and the hikers’ acquaintances. "I hope that after reading this book people will understand that there is no mystery at all. Every year we get closer to solving the mystery because new archive materials and testimonies turn up," Kuntsevich told a press conference at the TASS Urals regional center.

He said that the material gathered while working on the book is sufficient to resume the official investigation. "This August a metal piece that could be a munition or an aircraft piece, was found 55 kilometers away from the place where the hikers’ corpses had been discovered. This testifies to the fact that a military testing ground used to be there. We are waiting for the experts to say what it was exactly", the head of the Fund added.

So far, 200 copies of the book have been published. A map of the route that Dyatlov Group followed from January 26 to February 1, 1959, comes with the book. The place where the group members died is indicated on the map. The book points to a few possible causes of the tragedy such as a missile falling, man-made disaster, chemical explosion, military or nuclear test conducted in the area. This is the first of a three-book series, the second one is due out in October.

New versions should be based on documents

Writer Oleg Arkhipov, who is carrying out a separate investigation, told TASS that it is too early to draw any conclusions on the cause of the group members’ death. Recently in Yekaterinburg, he came across a new archive compiled by a member of the investigation team from Ivdel (Sverdlovsk region). The archive consists of 200 documents.

"I am not disclosing the details yet. I looked for this archive for four years, there are more than 200 official documents that were not included in the case. This archive has yet to be assessed," Arkhipov stressed.

He explained that these documents will not shed light on the cause of the hikers’ death. "We can’t say that these papers will help in drawing a final conclusion. But the archival research is the only thing that makes sense. The archive of the Sverdlovsk KGB is the most important one but they are not opened yet. As far as I know, there are some documents concerning this case but until they are made public there is no sense in setting out versions", Arkhipov said.

Tragedy in Otorten Mountain

Nine hikers died in the Northern Urals near the Otorten Mountain (translated from the mansi language as Mountain of the Dead) during the night of 1 to 2 February 1959, under ambiguous circumstances. The group was comprised of skiers from the tourist club of the Urals Polytechnichal Institute in Sverdlovsk. There were five students, three engineers and a tourist camp instructor. The group leader’s name was Igor Dyatlov.

After the group members didn’t check in and the time set up for their return had passed, a search operation was organized. Their corpses were discovered in different places far from their tent.

According to the forensic medical report, most of the hikers froze to death. However, there were serious injuries on some of the bodies that could have caused their deaths. Various versions of the incident were examined, including an avalanche hitting the tent, an attack by fugitive prisoners, an attack by the indigenous Mansi inhabitants, a brawl among the group members, an explosion by a missile flying over the pass and some other theories.

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