Dyatlov Pass

The bodies of the remaining four, Lyudmila Dubinina, Semyon Zolotaryov, Nikolai Thibeaux-Brignolle, and Alexander Kolevatov, were found in early May when the weather had improved. They were recovered from under a three-meter layer of snow in the bed of a stream, about 75 meters from the cedar tree.

For those taken refuge in the ravine, the odds were good: having more clothes on them in the first place, they cut the clothing off the dead bodies of their comrades, and wrapped themselves in the rags. In accordance with the rules of camping in the snow, they built a bedding of spruce branches.

But something caught up with them in this snowy haven.

It was of small wonder that the bodies had decayed significantly over these three months. However, a few things had astounded the rescue workers: gray hair, crimson-orange tanned skin, and empty eye sockets of the two bodies. Upon first seeing the cargo, the helicopter pilots refused to take the bodies on board and requested additional packaging to be provided.

After a few hours in the Ivdel prison morgue, the medical examiner, Boris Vozrozhdyonny cut open the body of Nikolai Thibeaux-Brignolle and gasped in awe. Under the intact external tissues of the head, the skull was crumbled - there was an extensive depressed fracture coming through its right side. Zolotaryov’s and Dubinina’s injuries were no less grim: crushed chests, no eyeballs and Dubinina had no tongue*The common suggestion is that the tongue and the eyeballs had been eaten by small rodents. However, researcher Gennady Kizilov argues that “A close friend of Maslennikov (the head of the rescue party) once told me that Dubinina’s tongue and the hyoid bone had been taken for examination by some strangers present at the site of the search..

Of the second batch, only Kolevatov had no injuries and clearly died of hypothermia.

As well as with the first five bodies, the expertise showed that the last food intake was 6-8 hours prior to death. The watches found on Thibauld’s body stopped roughly at the same time as those of Slobodin. To all appearances, the four in the ravine did not outlive their comrades on the slope for too long.

What force could possibly have maimed people so horribly? When asked by Lev Ivanov, Vozrozhdyonny gave a few speculative examples: a shockwave from a blast, a blow from a car…

THROUGH THE SNOWY MILLSTONES