The mystery of Dyatlov Pass has been solved after 61 years, as Russian prosecutors rule the skiers died of hypothermia after stripping off their clothes and fleeing in terror.
For decades rumours have swirled over what caused the brutal deaths of the group, who embarked on a 220mile ski trek to Mount Ororten.
Led by 23-year-old Ifor Dyatlov, the skiers failed to finish their mission, sparking a huge manhunt.
Investigators later discovered their bodies – many with missing body parts and others naked.
And now a new probe by the Russian prosecutor-general’s office has concluded the group was killed by hypothermia.
They say the nine fled in terror – and ran through the snow a mile or so down the mountain – from their tents in the deep nighttime cold, not having time to dress.
A new probe by the Russian prosecutor-general’s office has concluded the group was killed by hypothermia
Led by 23-year-old Ifor Dyatlov, the skiers failed to finish their mission, sparking a huge manhunt
Lyudmila Dubinina, 21, was also found without her eyes and mouth after the notorious Dyatlov Pass incident
Their tent had been mysteriously slashed from the inside, their camp was deserted and they had left their clothes and belongings behind.
Days after investigators found the tent the first two bodies were discovered. They were stripped to their underwear next to a small fire.
Three more were found nearby, apparently having perished while making an attempt to get back to their camp.
The final four were not found until the snow melted two months later in a ravine, with fractured skulls and chest injuries.
A leading Russian doctor has claimed Semen’s injuries were likely the result of a ‘big creature’
Striking camp: The skiers setting up camp on February 2, 1959 in a snap taken from a roll of film found by investigators, which is the last known photo of them alive
The tongue and eyes of Lyudmila Dubinina, 21, and Semen Zolotarev, 38, were missing.
Senior state prosecutor Andrei Kuryakov has revealed the group’s tent had been in danger from an avalanche and that the party rushed from their camp to shield behind a ridge.
‘This was a natural avalanche limiter. They did everything right’
But he claimed that when the group turned around, they had lost sight of their tent.
‘Visibility was 16 metres. They lit a fire and then searched for their tent – but it had vanished in the whiteout after the avalanche.
He revealed the group ‘froze to death in temperatures of between minus 40C and minus 45C’.
‘It was an heroic fight. There was no panic, but they had no chance in these circumstances.’
An experiment was conducted in an attempt to recreate the circumstances faced by the Soviet skiers.
Part of the reason for conspiracy theories over the incident was the fact that the Soviet authorities hushed up their deaths.
The mysterious case has been the subject of books, documentaries, movies, and computer games.
They were believed to have fled from an ‘unknown compelling force’, according to a Soviet investigation at the time.
What were the rumours around the mystery of Dyatlov Pass?
The mysterious case has been the subject of books, documentaries, movies, and computer games
A host of theories have been put forward since 1959 as to how the group met their deaths.
Rumours range from an avalanche, freak winds, aliens, yetis, and secret Soviet missile or weapons system.
Others include suspicions of paranormal activity and claims the group – two with KGB connections – were on a clandestine mission to meet US agents.
Boris Yeltsin – Russia’s first post-Communist president and a former student at the institute – was one of many who believed an elaborate cover-up was staged to hide what happened.
But his efforts once in power in the Urals, and later in the Kremlin, failed to unmask the truth.
One theory in 2014 suggested that the 1959 group may have gone mad due to ‘infrasound’.
The sinister phenomenon – which could have been caused by rare wind event – can cause feelings of unease, anxiety and even terror.
In certain conditions, a flow of wind could be directed in such a way that it creates a vortex.
These are formed in sequences by the moving air, and travel away in a fan shape.
With sufficiently high winds and the correct angles, these vortices of wind could form powerful tornadoes, with the potential to emit large amounts of infra-sound, as well as cause damage by themselves.
The Yeti theory stemmed from a fake newspaper headline left by one of the group in a place they had stashed their excess equipment before going high into the mountains.
It read: ‘According to the latest information, abominable snowmen live in the northern Urals.’
‘Whether the new report will put an end to the conspiracy theories – or increase them – is hard to fathom.