Евгений Буянов
Mystery of the Dyatlov group death

Lev Semenovich Gordo, head of UPI sports club, tried to agree through CS DSO “Burevestnik” about allocation of a plane for searches, but they refused him. An attempt to directly communicate with airport Ivdel thanks to support of prosecutor Tempalov was more successful. He managed to get a plane and a helicopter.

Actively recreation of the Dyatlov route was started by polling tourists and relatives, rescuers began searching for Yudin. With the help of Kolevatov’s sister Rimma rescuers found Ignatiy Fokievich Ryagin (deputy chief of Uralgipromed’) who gave the map to Sasha Kolevatov and talked to him about the forthcoming route. But the map and route books had been taken by the lost group! Ryagin restored the route and put it on another map from memory, and Rimma gave this map to rescuers on February 19th. On the same day Gordo and Blinov left for Ivdel in order to coordinate search of the Dyatlov group.

A general scheme of the route was recreated: from the Second Northern mining camp the group was going to move northeast along the valley of the Lozva river and along its head to the mountain Otorten (1182, on old maps: 1234). After a radial ascension onto this top they were planning to turn sharply towards south and along the Poyasovyi Kamen ridge to pass heads of the rivers Unya, Vishera and Niols up to mountain Oiko-Chakur (or Oikachakhl, 1322) with a radial ascension onto the top of this mountain. Straight distance between Otorten and Oiko-Chakur makes up about 70 km, but in fact the Dyatlov group was supposed to pass more than 100 km on the ridge. Later they were planning to move east from Oiko Chakur along the valleys of the Malaya Toshemka or the Bolshaya Toshemka and get to their confluence into the Severnaya Toshemka and get to the road to Vizhay along its valley, thus closing the campaign ring. Here the campaign was supposed to finish with a return to Sverdlovsk through Vizhaj-Ivdel-Serov.

Arrangement scheme of search groups

Red arrows – way of the Slobtsov group

Yellow full lines – way of the Dyatlov group

Yellow dotted line – Dyatlov's route and his spare options

White dotted ovals – search zones of groups.

(surnames of group leaders, bold arrow – landing place with conventional and serial group numbers)

White dotted arrows – concentration of groups in the Auspiya valley

Red triangle emergency tent of the Dyatlov group

Blue triangles search groups camp of rescuers on the Auspiya

Dyatlov had foreseen spare options shortening the route in case of delays, as well as emergency exits in short ways along river valleys leading to settlements in case of an emergency case in the eastern direction. Exits to the west (to the Ust-Unye, Diy, Priiskovoi) weren't provided because of their remoteness. This general scheme of route was visible, but there were a lot of possible options of its passing, especially at the final stage of the campaign. It was also not clear along which heads of the Lozva the group would go to the Otorten mountain in the initial part.

The group disappeared on this route. Tourists of the Ural Polytechnical University were captured by panic. Volunteers record began in order to form a rescue team of the UPI. On February 20th there was a meeting of tourists «state of emergency with the Dyatlov group!» for the purpose of mobilization and preparation of search groups (70 people came). Only strong guys who had tourist experience and equipment could become members of the search and rescue group, – others should not be taken. It was both unsafe and useless, – untrained people would have first needed a training on life and work in the winter taiga. Female student-tourists actively helped with organization of communication, collection and distribution of information and search of volunteers, urging familiar guys to participate in searches. On February 22nd the UPI staff of search activities was created which formed the management structure of search groups. These groups were supposed to be headed by tourists who had experience of managing several campaigns: Boris Slobtsov, Oleg Grebennik, Moisey Akselrod. From 21.02 the local prosecutor Tempalov and representatives of the UPI Blinov and Gordo were engaged in the search of tourists in Ivdel. Excerpt from Maslennikov's protocol (sheet 67 of the criminal case):

«… in the morning of 24.02 I left to Ivdel by plane. The Grebennik group, Vishnevsky and Ortyukov also flew with me. Blinov, Gordo were already in Ivdel. Blinov was the organizer of search, and Gordo was responsible for equipment …».

Note. Here and further on literal excerpts from documents and literal quotes of witnesses (without corrections) are marked in italics.

Tempalov received an instruction from Prodanov, secretary of the Ivdelsky city town committee of CPSU to take measures to search for tourists (and Prodanov himself had received this order from from regional party authorities in Sverdlovsk). Sverdlovsk ordered aviators to carry out air reconnaisance. Prodanov involved Dryakhlykh, engineer of Power wood plant who had communicated with the Dyatlov group in the 41-st quarter.

On February 21 Dryakhlykh and Blinov carried out investigation by plane along the valleys of the Auspiya and Toshemka rivers, but no traces of the Dyatlov group were found. From Blinov's diary:

«… The plan was as follows – to fly to the 2nd Northern settlement, then up along the Auspiya towards Otorten, then further to the south along the Vishera River to the mountain Oyka-Chakur, then along the valley of the Severnaya Toshemka to the settlement Northern Toshemka. Because of bad weather we didn't reach Otorten. We flew to Auspiya's middle course, flew along the Severnaya Toshemka-no traces were found.»

On February 22nd Dryachlyuh together with Gordo took off by the helicopter on northern Toshemka, where on the road of visors with itself forester Kuznetsov A.I., visited Anyamov A.P. settlement. and Bakhtiyarov P. I. yurtas. They asked Muncie on passable tourists, but traces of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group didn't find and on finishing sites of a route of a campaign.

The organization of rescue efforts from 24.02 charged to the head of the UPI military chair to colonel George Semenovich Ortyukov. Ortyukov could agree with the chief of the Air Force of the district about allocation of the plane and two helicopters, and Maslennikov was engaged in preparation and the organization of actions of search groups of tourists and climbers. A radio communication with groups adjusted by means of Nevolin and Yaburov radio operators of the Northern geological expedition (hands. Sulman). By means of regional and local authorities and the Ministry of Internal Affairs in searches involved group of military led by captain Tchernyshov from Post/Box-6602 (connection of internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ivdel). Involved Moiseyev's conductors and Bridge with office and search dogs, and later – the soldier of protection of Ivdellag (Ivdel-Camp) under command of lieutenant Potapov and sappers of lieutenant colonel Shestopalov with mine detectors.

Locals also were involved in searches, – Kurikovs, Anyamov's Mancie families from the settlement Suyevatpaul and hunters of Komi. Bakhtiyarov's family conducted search of tourists in the zone of dwelling on valleys of Vizhaya and Toshemka. Some locals joined groups of search: hunters, foresters (Pashin, Kuznetsov), military (Cheglakov). Actively interrogated hunters, researchers and locals, whether saw they DyatlovDyatlov's tourist group. Warned about need to inform a search staff at detection of any traces of the gone group.

The area of search was huge, and to avia investigation and descent groups by military helicopters during searches by times very much stirred a lack of time of short winter day (only 6 hours) and adverse weather conditions. The review from the plane is very limited therefore to find group or to make out on snow traces of skis on taiga open spaces very difficult. For such region of strength of rescuers were obviously insufficient. Therefore the staff of search tried to narrow a zone of searches tactically. The main attention concentrated to the most remote, difficult and dangerous area from Otorten's mountain to Oyko-Chakur. Therefore the two first search groups decided to land near Otorten's mountain (Slobtsov's northern group) and around Oyko-Chakur (Grebennik's southern group), – in 70 km to the south of Otorten. Moving towards each other, these groups should find DyatlovDyatlov's traces and meet on ridge. To groups of searchers the task was put to find traces of the gone group: ski traces and traces of parking to leave on them to the place of incident and to assist DyatlovDyatlovThe Dyatlov group.

Search works were also saving, it was necessary as to rescue both live, and dead, – for burial and clarification of causes of death. But all hoped for the favorable outcome of searches, – here for success it was required to find for live participants of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group as soon as possible. And the delay with search of victims was not so critical as couldn't prevent the tragedy any more.

Tactically searches built so: after disembarkation around search the group was divided into some prospecting links from 2–3 people who made within one day search of traces with light baggage in the radial directions on distance some kilometers with return to the camp. Conditions of radial investigations determined by the district, trying to guess, what way DyatlovDyatlovThe Dyatlov group could go. Then the group in full strength moved to a new point on an expected route of DyatlovDyatlovetses, equipped a new camp, and again prospected in the radial directions forces of prospecting links. Investigation in the lateral directions allowed to hope that searchers will come across sooner or later the linear ski trace left by DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group. In case of detection of such trace of group assumed to move on it, finding places of parking of DyatlovDyatlovetses and a place of their failure. Here so decided to find at first traces, and then and emergency group. Before appearance of radio operators of the instruction to groups were given by dumping of pendants from planes, and searchers gave the answer by laying on snow in the form of a conventional sign (letter).

One for other group of rescuers went to the area of search, landed from helicopters and moved on a taiga and mountains, looking for traces of the gone group. On scales and duration at that time these rescue efforts appeared unprecedented. Later longer and large-scale works took place after the «Chivruaysky tragedy» of 23.01.73 with KuAI group, – it is described below in head about failures analogs.

Boris Slobtsov's group, the youngest on structure of students, gathered the first. Two locals entered into it, – forester Ivan Pashin and the officer the Ministry of Internal Affairs (fireman) with experience of the taiga hunter Alexey Cheglakov. And also students of UPI: Vadim Brusnitsin, Stas Devyatov, Yuri Koptelov, Vyacheslav Krotov, Vladimir Lebedev, Vladimir Strelnikov, Vyacheslav Halizov, Mikhail Sharavin, – only 11 people. Group with equipment and a week stock of products from Sverdlovsk by the plane transported on military airfield of the town Ivdel on February 22. Next day by helicopters group two parts threw and landed, as late established, at the mountain Pumsalnel (1055, and on old cards: 1023) in east spur of the mountain of Otorten. In Otorten's massif there are three large tops, and in the conditions of poor visibility pilots couldn't find main of them and land group more precisely as in the beginning it was planned to deliver even closer than rescuers to Otorten, – in the upper courses of sources of river Lozva.

The AN-2 plane in airfield Aramil for group of rescuers (V. Brusnitsin's photo)

After disembarkation, an exit of a prospecting link to the mountain «1023» for definition of a site, descent to Lozva and the equipment of a camp Slobtsov's (23.02) group 24.02 crossed Lozva's sources, aspiring to find traces of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group. Traces didn't find, but understood that they could remain only in a taiga. And on an open part of mountains snow represented a firm crust on which skis didn't leave traces. Therefore decided to look for traces below, in a taiga, and to cross a wood part of a valley of river Auspiya on which other possible way of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group lay. On February 24th Slobtsov's group moved to the south, – to Auspiya's valley.

Landing in the helicopter (V. Brusnitsyn's photo)

On February 23 the settlement Suyevatpaul on Auspiya left Stepan Kurikov's group of 5 people, – Stepan, two his relatives, hunter Nikolay Anyamov and radio operator geologist Egor Nevolin.

On February 24 to the mountain area Oyko-Chakur landed Oleg Grebennik's southern group (O.I.Grebennik, Vladimir Shlyapin and 4 more tourists).

On February 26 in 30 km to the south of Otorten on a watershed in upper courses of the Vishera Rivers and Purm (approximately in 25 km from «the pass of the mountain Holatchakhl 1079») landed group of military of captain Tchernyshov with skilled pathfinders, – captain Vlasov, foreman Sidorov, the Art. the sergeant Verkhovsky and civilian Yablonsky (5 people).

Axelrod managed to agree and took off for Ivdel 24.02 together with Tipikin and Sogrin, and Axelrod's group 26.02 (around 16.00) landed in 8 km to the east of Otorten's mountain, – at the mountain Pumsalnel, where three days before and Slobtsov's group. Axelrod assumed that DyatlovDyatlovThe Dyatlov group didn't reach Otorten, and it should check this assumption for definition of the place of incident. On February 27 Axelrod with Sogrin and Tipikin surveyed Otorten's vicinities, having passed more than 40 km. From Otorten's top removed the note of Moscow State University group dated 1956. Traces of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group didn't find.

Karelin's group planned to throw in upper courses of sources of the river Niols between Grebennik and Tchernyshov's groups, – to the area of the mountain Sampalchakhl (910). Karelin’s tiurists with 9 till 24.02 made a campaign near the mountain Molebny Kamen, – on 50–60 to the south of DyatlovDyatlovThe Dyatlov group. At the beginning of a campaign near the mountain Oyko-Chakur they planned a meeting with DyatlovDyatlovThe Dyatlov group, but the meeting didn't take place, – all decided that DyatlovDyatlov didn't manage to reach an extreme southern point of the route and went down according to Toshemka in Vizhay. Into structure of group of Karelin entered: Atmanaki George, Borisov Boris, Goryachko Oleg, Granin Victor, Karelin Vladislav, Serdityih Evgeniy, Skutin Vladimir, Shavkunov Vladimir. In a dining room at the station (25.02) town of Serov the casual visitor approached to group (called as the representative of Northern geological party) and asked: «What it for group? Whether for you search?.». It guarded at once: «How «search»? At us control term yet didn't end!.». Hastened to call to Sverdlovsk, learned from Orlova about loss of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group and about the organization of a staff of search in Ivdel. To Ivdel didn't phone immediately, but through militia specified a situation and received the instruction whenever possible to follow in Ivdel. Two most tired and least strong participants (Goryachko and Granin) sent to Sverdlovsk, and other six directed to the aid of rescuers and arrived to Ivdel by train 25.02 at 23.00. The 26-th Atmanaki and Skutin flied by the plane to investigation for specification of a place of disembarkation of group of Axelrod (around Otorten). From Yuri Blinov's diary: «… By this time (on February 26) the aircraft saw almost everything that was planned, that is all inflows, all rivers, the majority of tops. Survey of results didn't give…».

Among rescuers the most skilled tourists were the master of sports Maslennikov, Karelin (which then already executed norm of the master of sports), Sogrin (is younger DyatlovDyatlov, but more skilled on a tourist experience and existence of climbing preparation of the 2nd category and the instructor). Didn't concede DyatlovDyatlova (with his 10 campaigns to the management 3 categories of difficulty and 1 category of tourizm) by tourist experience Axelrod, Blinov, Grebennik. Some rescuers were also climbers (Atmanaki, Grebennik, Sogrin, Tipikin).

On February 24 the message on detection of the first trace of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group arrived: «Radiogramm 24.02, time 10–30. The trace was seen by shepherd Anyamov Andrey about 8–9 days ago a trace of narrow sports skis, the number of people isn't established, traces go from Auspiya’s right inflow from it the direction of east slope knot to the North to Lozva's upper courses it is necessary to look for this place Auspiya's upper courses Lozva also on the western slope of ridge on upper courses of the rivers Vanya and Vishera. Nevolin»

The group of the 4th hunters Mancie (Anyamova and Sheshkin) reported that on Auspiya's river they 15–16.02 met rather «fresh» traces of «narrow skis» any tourist group ("wide" skis of Mancie had other trace). Traces belonged to DyatlovDyatlovThe Dyatlov group as other tourist groups didn't pass in this area of search.

Ortyukov and Maslennikov understood that DyatlovDyatlov went to Otorten on a valley of the river of Auspiya, – Lozva's right inflow. Therefore the staff of search focused two search groups on this site, – from below according to Auspiya the Manci group as a part of which there was radio operator geologist Egor Nevolin from 23.02 moved. And from the North there was Slobtsov's group.

Ortyukov's provided plan task to Slobtsov's group for 24.02.59 dumped a pendant from the plane when Slobtsov approached to Auspiya's valley (about date of dumping of reminiscence of participants of search dispersed, is was or on February 24 or 25th).

Ortyukov's plan task to Slobtsov's group (24.02.59):

1. In the area верховьев Auspiya's river is found parking of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group approximately in 10–15 km from a ridge crest on Auspiya's river.

2. Parking is found by mansiyets 8-10 days ago

3. To the area of parking of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group on Auspiya's river 25.2 left group of mansiyets with radio station with a task to find DyatlovDyatlov's traces and to move on them further to upper courses of river of Auspiya.

4. You should go down with upper part Lozva's rivers in Auspiya's riverheads, to find a trace of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group, his second parking at the ridge bottom in upper courses of river of Auspiya and to meet mansiyets.

5. Having incorporated to group of mansi to discuss results of your searches, to make the common decision on conducting further search (together with this group or separately). Report your actions and decisions on a handheld transceiver. Keep in mind that DyatlovDyatlovThe Dyatlov group with upper part of Auspiya should leave to Ural Ridge (there returns with Otorten) and to move along ridge to the south to the mountain Oyko-Chakur.

6. Pay special attention to search of the second parking and a food warehouse of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group in the area upper part Auspiya. In case of its detection it is necessary to find first of all group traces aside for the purpose of advance it to the south to Oyko-Chakur and to move on them.

7. In case these traces it will be revealed not, find traces of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group towards Otorten and rise on them by top. Carefully survey the region of top of the mountain of Otorten for the purpose of detection of a trace of possible failure.

8. 25–26/II – 59 through ridge with upper part Purma's river in riverheads of Vishera jumps out the pass area a landing under the direction of captain Tchernyshov for the purpose of ridge crossing on the pass and detection of traces of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group with the subsequent inspection of ridge to the South from this place and a valley of river. Northern Toshemka. Therefore after inspection Auspiya's riverhead of detection of traces of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group along ridge in the southern direction continue movement to a meeting with Tchernyshov's group. On the pass to Vishera River upper courses Tchernyshov's group should leave to you replacement. Investigation to finish together with this group in log huts on North Tashemkav's river.

9. At detection of DyatlovDyatlovthe Dyatlov group kindle three big fires with the triangle party in 30 meters and whenever possible wire.