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Saturday, November 20, 2021

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The Dyatlov Pass Incident - Part 3

It was not until March 5th, that more of the hikers were discovered.

Rustem Slobodin's body was found 525 yards from the cedar tree. The body was lying face down, head towards the tent, and was covered with about 20 inches of snow. Slobodin was dressed in a long sleeved undershirt, a sweater, a shirt, two pairs of pants, four pairs of socks, and a felt boot on his right foot. In the chest area, under the sweater were two shoe insoles and he had 310 rubles and his passport in the shirt pocket. His watch had stopped at 8:45 am. In other clothing pockets were found a small penknife, a pencil, a pen, a comb in a plastic sleeve, a box of matches still containing 48 matches, and one cotton sock.

Rustem Slobodin's body - Colorized by TCC
Rustem Slobodin's body - colorized by TCC

His documented injuries: hemorrhages in the temple area muscles; abrasions on the forehead with scratches; bruise on upper eyelid of right eye with bleeding into the tissue underneath; traces of bloody nose; swelling and abrasions on both sides of the face; bruised knuckles on both hands [similar bruises common in fighting]; bruises on left arm and palm; swollen lips; bruises on left tibia; skin torn off right arm; frontal bone of skull fractured. [see diagram].

Boris Alekseevich Vozrozhdenny stated that the fracture in the skull could have been done with a blunt object. Slobodkin probably suffered a loss of coordination right after the blow which could have sped up his death due to hypothemia [which was listed as official cause of death]. Even with a lack of coordination, the injuries suffered were not the type usually incurred from falls. The snow under his body was icy from thawing snow hardening again. So when his body ended up on the ground, it was still warm, causing a very noticeable heating of the snow under him.

The clothing in the snow

Although the search teams were still looking for the remainder of the hikers, two months went by before any trace of them was found. When May came around, the snow was beginning to melt. A Mansi native Kurikov was out with his dog when he noticed a sort of trail which they began following. About 55 yards from the cedar tree, he noticed sticking out from the snow, some clothing: black cotton sweat pants with the right leg having been cut off with a knife and the left half of a women's light-brown wool sweater, the right half and sleeves having been cut off. The area had been previously searched with avalanche probes but the snow apparently had been deeper than they had thought. On May 5, the last four bodies were discovered.

What has been called the Dyatlov Pass Den raises some very important considerations. The construction of the Den shows that the remaining members of the hiking party had even sense to do everything within their power to try to survive. What is bothersome is that their attempts did not work.

The four surviving members of the party retreated to the ravine to gain some protection from the winds. It is assumed that Zolotaryov, using his military background, orchestrated the construction based on methods used on battlegrounds to survive the winters. It is also theorized that they choose this way to give themselves a chance to survive while waiting for rescue.

Dubinina and Thibeaux-Brignolle
Kolevatov and Zolotaryov
Dubinina - Colorized by TCC

Kolevatov and Zolotaryov. Bodies lying in "spoon" position

The three brought in cedar branches to reduce contact with the cold snow underneath them. An odd thing about the structure is that the bodies were all discovered a few feet from the cedar branch shelter they had built in the ravine. Clothes removed from the other bodies were still lying on the branches, and had not yet been used. The knife that had been used to cut the branches was also not found in this location.

The searchers dug into the snowdrift and after about 10 feet, they discovered the branches: 14 fir tree branches and one birch, with the clothing and belongings lying on top. Perhaps it was designed to be four areas to sit.

Fir [cedar] branches

Dubinina's body was discovered first using a probe into the deep snow and had to be excavated before they could try to locate the remaining hikers. All were found under deep snow and in water.  Her body was positioned on her knees, with her face and chest hugging a rock ledge. There was water rolling over the ledge. Her mouth was open. Claims have been made that her tongue was ripped out, or eaten. The medical records only say the tongue was missing along with muscles in the mouth.

The bodies of the men would not be identified until later, after they had been removed from the water. All of the bodies were decaying and the flowing water made matters worse.

removing Dubinina's body - Colorzied by TCC


Lyudmila Dubinina's body was found dressed in a small skullcap and a yellow sleeveless shirt. Over that she had put on a flannel shirt, a gray sweater, a brown sweater [belonging to Krivonischenko], underwear, leggings and brown ski trousers. One foot was covered by two woolen socks and half of a beige sweater was wrapped around her right foot [the autopsy report states it was her left foot].

The back of her head and her neck was reported damaged by the probe at the search site. Damages listed at the autopsy : the soft tissues around the eyes, nose and left cheek bone were missing, along with her eyes, upper lip [leaving her teeth and upper jaw exposed], and tongue. The nose was broken and flattened. Her ribs were fractured and there had been a massive hemorrhage in the heart. There was a bruise in the middle of her left thigh. There was coagulated blood in her stomach. There was no sign of sexual trauma. The cause of death was listed as the hemorrhage into the right atrium of the heart, the multiple fractured ribs and internal bleeding.

Nikolay Thibeaux-Brignolle was found next, lying near Dubinina. He seemed to be well dressed against the cold, with a canvas fur hat and a home knitted woolen hat. He wore a shirt, a wool sweater inside out, and a sheepskin fur jacket. In the pocket were wool gloves, three coins, a comb and several pieces of paper. He wore underwear, a pair of sweat pants, cotton pants, and a pair of ski pants. He had hand-knitted woolen socks and a pair of valenki [felt boots].
He also had two watches on his left arm, one stopped at 8:14 and the other at 8:39.

The body showed multiple fractures to the temporal bone, extending to the frontal and sphenoid bones. The left side of the upper lip was bruised and there was a wound on the lower forearm. The doctor conducting the autopsy declared that the injuries did not occur due to an accidental fall on the rocks. The injuries could have been caused by being thrown down by a strong gust of wind. The extensive multi-splintered fracture was of a type that could be caused by the impact of a car at high speed. Being hit in the head by a rock in someone's hand was ruled out as there was no damage to the soft tissue. This injury most likely would have given him a severe concussion, rendering him unconscious. The doctor believed that even if he had been conscious it is doubtful he would have been able to move by himself, or even if assisted. The others would have had to carry or drag him. He may have shown signs of life for up to three hours.

Zolotaryov and Kolevatov were found lying together. It looked as if Kolevatov was either protecting the other man or trying to share body heat with him or was perhaps carrying him.

Zolotaryov was wearing two hats [one was a fur hat that belonged to Dubinina], a scarf, a long sleeved shirt, a black sweater and a coat [fur jacket that belonged to Dubinina?] with the two upper buttons unfastened. He also wore underwear and two pairs of pants and ski pants. He wore socks and a pair of handmade leather shoes known as "burka", which were said to be very warm. There was a camera around his neck [not mentioned by Colonel Ortyukov. He was the only one who claimed that there was a pen and notepad in the hands of the body and that nothing was written on it. No notepad was ever entered into evidence, nor did anyone else seem to have witnessed it.]  Unfortunately, the film in this camera was damaged by the water flowing over it. There is no way of knowing what pictures he may have taken that last day or even if any of the film even recorded any of the day's events. Also found with him were newspapers, some coins, a compass, and several other little items not listed individually.

The autopsy on his body reported that missing were his eyeballs, and the soft tissue around his left eye brow, exposing the bone. There was an open wound on the right side of his skull, exposing the bone. His chest was flattened, with half of his ribs broken on the right side. There were signs of internal bleeding, hemorrhaging into the pleural cavity.

Both Zolotaryov and Dubinina had similar injuries. They were both alive when they were injured. The injuries appeared to be the result of a large force. There was no damage to the soft tissue of the chest and seemed to be similar to the type of trauma that would result from a shock wave of a bomb. It was theorized that Dubinina died 10 to 20 minutes after whatever event took place. Her injuries were more complicated than Zolotaryov and he could have lived longer.

The body of Aleksander Kolevatov also appeared well clothed, although he did not have either a hat or shoes. He was wearing a sleeveless shirt, a long sleeved shirt, a sweater, a fleece sweater and a ski jacket [zipper undone]. There was a large hole on the left sleeve of the ski jacket of which the edges were burnt. The right sleeve had several cuts or tears. In the pockets were a key, a safety pin, some blank paper, and two packages of pills [soda and codeine].

He wore shorts, a pair of lighter pants, some ski pants and a pair of canvas pants. In those pockets were a box of matches [water logged]. Although he wore no shoes, he did have some home knitted woolen socks that showed some fire damage. He had an another lighter sock underneath the woolen one on his right foot; on his left were three lighter socks over the woolen one. There was also a bandage on his left ankle most likely applied before the event as the first aid kit was left in the tent.

Removing his body - colorized by TCC
Damages to his body included missing tissue and brows around the eyes, leaving the skull bones exposed. The bridge of the nose was straight although the cartilage was soft and easily moved. The base of the nose was flattened, which did not necessarily indicate the nose had been broken. There was a wound behind his left ear and his neck appeared deformed. The left knee had bleeding under the tissue. The fingers and feet were more decayed due to the wet environment.

The wound behind the ear and the neck injury might have been the result of a fight and could have been the cause of death. But damage from being exposed to nature for three months cannot be eliminated. The doctor performing the autopsy made no move to explain the injuries in any way, just as no explanations were offered in Zolotaryov's or Dubinina's injuries.

Below is a map by Aleksey Rakitin, author of "Dyatlov Pass".  Key to the map : 1 - cedar tree. 2 - cut up pants and sweaters. 3 - bodies. 4 - the den. "P" - direction to the tent. R1 - the distance from the cedar to the edge of the forest. R2 -  the shortest distance from the cedar to the ravine. R3 - the distance from the cedar to the cut pants and sweaters. R4 - the distance from the cut pants and sweaters to where the bodies were found. R5 - the distance between the bodies and the den. R6 - the distance from the den to the cedar. The Blue Dashed lines show the area where trees were where the branches for the flooring for the den came from.

Below is a map by Mihail Sharavin,  search party member that found the first bodies. When the last four bodies were discovered, he made a note of where he believed the locations of them were. His map shows that the den and bodies were north-west from the tree and south-east as Rakitin drew it. These maps show that the slope of the ravine has a high enough drop to the creek bottom that could have led to a dangerous fall in the dark and could have caused the traumas on those bodies.


Scenes of excavating the Den (Images colorized by TCC):

showing how deep the snow was

Ravine after the bodies were removed

Next : A look at the theories of what happened to the hikers (Part 4)

[Drawings and photographs courtesy of dyatlovpass.com]


"I'll spark the thought; what you do with it is up to you."
 "Those that know, need no further proof. Those that don't, should not demand it from others, but seek it for themselves."

This Post By TCC Team Member Nancy Marietta. Nancy has had a lifelong interest in the paranormal and cryptids. Nancy is also a published author and her book, The Price of war, has been met with great reviews.

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