No one is certain what happened to the 9 hikers that lost their lives in 1959. The young men and women were found in mysterious circumstances, that has caused speculation by many as to how they met their demise. One of the more recent theories focuses on a controversial cause of death. Is it possible those 9 hikers were killed by one or more yeti type creatures?
On January 27th, 1959, nine cross-country skiers from Russia’s Ural Polytechnical Institute set out on a hike from Vizhai in the northern province of Sverdlovsk Oblast to Otorten—a name that means “Don’t go there” in the language of the Mansi people indigenous to the area.
On February 1st—57 years ago today—the group moved through a mountain pass near Kholat Syakhl, where a snowstorm picked up and forced the group off their intended path. With temperatures well below zero degrees, the group decided to set up camp on the mountain’s slope, hoping to outlast the storm.
The hikers never reached Otorten. Rescue teams found no trace of the expedition until February 26th, when a band of volunteer searchers found the group’s tent in the snow, collapsed, crumpled, and slit open with razor blades. Five of the bodies were found nearby with the aid of footprints, but the remaining four members of the expedition were nowhere to be found for months.
Finally, on May 4th, over three months after their disappearance, the final four bodies were found, buried under some 10 feet of snow in a ravine well beyond where any of the other bodies were found.
The disappearance of the hikers has become known as the Dyatlov Pass Incident, named after Igor Dyatlov, the 23-year-old leader of the expedition. The details uncovered after an investigation of the area and the autopsies of the bodies resulted in more questions than answers.
Most of the group’s equipment and clothes were still inside the tent when rescuers found it. Some of the hikers were found wearing each others’ clothes; others were found in only their underwear. The footprints found near the site were made by people with either bare feet, socks, or one single shoe. Two of the hikers had suffered head injuries, and one woman was found without her tongue. Forensic radiation tests found alpha radiation on the group’s clothes.
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