4 Feb 2019 13:04

Prosecutors plan to complete Dyatlov investigation by fall

YEKATERINBUR. Feb 4 (Interfax) - Prosecutors are studying three main theories of the deaths of the Dyatlov group: an avalanche, a snow plank, and a storm, Andrei Kuryakov, the head of the department for supervision of observance of federal legislation of the Sverdlovsk region's prosecutor's office, said at a press conference in Yekaterinburg on Monday.

"The tentative deadline is August. This is connected to forensic tests," he said.

The results are expected to be published in August, as well, he said.

A group of tourists led by Igor Dyatlov died on a pass in the Northern Urals early on February 2, 1959. Initially, there were ten people in the group, but Yury Yudin left due to a pain in his foot after they had walked about half of the route. He was the only survivor. Two young women, six young men, and one war veteran, Semyon Zolotaryov, died.

Dyatlov was a fifth-year student of the radiotechnical department of the Urals Polytechnic Institute. The others, except for Zolotaryov, were also students or graduates of that institute. Dyatlov was the only person who had experience hiking in winter. The hike was in the top difficulty category: the tourists planned to cover 300 kilometers on skis and climb two mountains, Otorten and Oika-Chakur.

Mount Otorten was the end point. The word means "don't go there" in Mansi, the language of the indigenous population of the area.

The search for the tourists began only on February 16. On the pass, rescuers found their tent, which was cut and torn. The bodies of two students, who were wearing nothing but their underwear, were found later. Dyatlov's body was found a little higher on the pass. He did not have his shoes or outerwear on. The next body the rescuers found was that of Zinaida Kolmogorova, which was buried in the snow. Rustem Slobodin's body was found later. He had warm clothes on. All five had frozen to death.

When the snow melted, the bodies of Zolotaryov, Nikolai Tibo-Brinyol, Alexander Kolevatov, and Lyudmila Dubinina were found in a stream. Kolevatov had frozen to death, while the others had died of bodily trauma.

There are various theories about what caused the tragedy.

The pass where the group died is now called the Dyatlov Pass.

"We have begun the key stage: the establishment of the real cause of the tourists' death. Out of 75 theories, we intend to probe three as the most probable ones, and they are all associated with natural phenomena, one way or another," Russian Prosecutor General's Office spokesman Kurennoi said on Efir, the agency's video channel, on February 2.

"Foul play is fully ruled out. There is no evidence of it, even indirect evidence," he said.

"It could have been an avalanche, a so-called snow plank, or a storm," he said. "Winds, by the way, are very strong in that area, and locals and indigenous people know about that," Kurennoi said.

A group of investigators is expected to fly to the site in March to determine the exact location of the tent, the gradient of the slope, the depth of the snow, and other information and perform forensic tests, he said.

"Finally, another forensic test, the final one, will be ordered after that visit, a special medical evaluation, which should finally determine the causes of the injuries to the victims' bodies," Kurennoi said.