Three groups of tourists who died in the USSR, as in the Dyatlov Pass incident

The mysterious death of a group of tourists in the Urals (Dyatlov Pass incident) has become the mystery of the century for our contemporaries.

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However, there were other skiers in the USSR who died under mysterious circumstances. But information about them has not become so widespread.

Orlov’s group in Transbaikalia: four dead

Mikhail Orlov’s group was not a tourist group. It included two young biologists: Mikhail Orlov and Sergei Konkin; both were 25 years old, both graduated from the university in Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod), and both were in love with the Siberian taiga.

The scientists were accompanied by an employee of the Sokhondinsky Nature Reserve, 28-year-old Igor Bakholdin, and his wife, 27-year-old Tatyana Terekhova. The couple were local and knew the taiga well. They lived and worked at the Ingoda cordon and decided to accompany the scientists to reach the village of Kyra and celebrate the New Year with their son, who lived with his parents.

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On December 24, 1981, Igor Bakholdin radioed that the group was moving to the winter quarters of Byrkykht. This was his last message. The route was simple – 16 kilometers along a well-worn ski track. The places are beautiful: around the mountains.

The temperature was also suitable. The only difficulty on the route was the mountains of Byrkykhtyn-Yang, which, like the Ural Mountain of the Dead, had a bad reputation. The Evenks believed that an evil spirit lived on it.

A day earlier, the first group of scientists left along the same route with the same task – recording animal tracks – and safely reached the winter hut. Nobody was worried about Orlov’s group. The guys were young, athletic, and no one had chronic diseases.

However, neither on December 24 nor on December 25 did Orlov’s group go to the winter quarters of Byrkykht, where colleagues from the first group were waiting for them. On December 27, the person was reported missing in Kyru; The search began on December 28. On December 29, rescuers discovered that on the Byrkykhtyn-Yang pass near the Arshan spring, Orlov’s group turned through fresh snow towards the loaches.

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Having walked along the ski track, the searchers found skis stuck in the snow, an unloaded gun stuck in the snow with the muzzle up, scattered backpacks, and even further – the bodies of Konkin, Terekhova and Bakholdin.

Moreover, Konkin lay one and a half meters from the backpacks, Terekhova – one and a half meters next to him, and Bakholdin was found 26 meters down the slope. Konkin’s body was fully clothed. Tatyana was missing a hat and one mitten, and Bakholdin had his sweater pulled up over his stomach.

Everyone was in the same position – on their backs, with their heads thrown back, eyes open, arms outstretched to the sides – a pose not typical for a freezing person.

Their faces were bright red, like burnt skin. Matches were scattered on the chests of Terekhova and Konkin. However, there were no attempts to protect themselves from the cold – warm clothes remained in their backpacks.

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Mikhail Orlov was found only on January 3, 1982 – his body was seven hundred meters from his comrades. He froze to death, curled up and burying his face in the snow. The examination showed that of all four, only he drank a small dose of alcohol on the day of death, but this could not have influenced his behavior or death.

This watch belonged to the youngest member of the group, Sergei Konkin. Photo © / Victoria Mikhailyuk

Terekhova and Bakholdin’s watches stopped at 5:27 p.m., Konkin’s clocks stopped an hour later, at 6:27 p.m., and Orlov’s clocks stopped at 7:59 p.m. From the place of death of the group to the winter hut it was only two kilometers – a 10-minute ride on skis.

While interviewing local residents, the investigator learned that they considered the place dangerous: they say that certain “phenomena” occur in the char areas – people find it difficult to breathe, they lose consciousness.

It was never possible to determine the cause of death of three members of the group, as well as its circumstances. The pathologist wrote down the official word: hypothermia. The investigation considered that Orlov was the only one who fought for his life to the end. The rest simply did not have time to do anything. What killed them is still unknown.

Romanov’s group in the Polar Urals: seven dead

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Let us recall that the main logical reason for the death of tourists under the leadership of Dyatlov was the collapse of a small avalanche – a heavy ice board, which injured the tourists and drove them out of the tent.

A similar death awaited a group of tourists from MEIIS led by Oleg Romanov in February 1982 on the Medvezhiy stream in the Polar Urals. Seven skiers disappeared on February 6; they began searching for them on February 19, but were found only on July 8 after a long search.

As it turned out, Romanov’s group deviated from the route and left the 129th kilometer from the railway station to the Ledopadny pass. Unable to overcome it, the tourists went down the slope a little to Bear Creek and set up two tents under the blowing snow, digging holes in the snow.

Here they were found — all of them at once: seven dead bodies with injuries characteristic of the Dyatlov group. The watches of the victims showed 1:10 am. Officially, everyone died under the snowfall. There are also many unofficial versions, from thermobaric weapon (vacuum bomb) tests to UFOs.

Kuznetsov’s group on the Kola Peninsula: 10 dead

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This tragedy occurred in January 1973 in the Lovozero tundra of the Kola Peninsula. On January 25, a group of ten Samara skiers left the village of Ilma along a route of category II difficulty.

The group was led by experienced tourist Mikhail Kuznetsov. Samara was going to go through the Elmorayok pass, reach Seydozero, climb the plateau and make a route through the mountains.

The first dead were found by chance: a group of tourists, leaving Ilma a few days later, noticed a hand sticking out of the snow on the mountainside near the Chivruay pass – it was the body of the group leader, Kuznetsov.

The bodies of four more tourists were found next to him. The search for the remaining five took 4 months. Later, enthusiasts reproduced what happened as best they could.

Obelisk at the site of the Chivruay tragedy. Photo © Wikipedia / StudioTrailers
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Most likely, on the first day, the skiers crossed the Elmorajok Pass and spent the night on the river of the same name. The next day, the group walked 20 kilometers to the Chivruay pass and at dusk went up, lost their way, came out onto the Mannepahk plateau and stopped at the cliff of the Kitkuai River, where Kuznetsov divided the group, sending half of the skiers on reconnaissance and remaining with the other half of the group.

Five scouts managed to find a way down and, in turn, also split up: two went to inform Kuznetsov, and three went down. Everyone died. For some reason, the skiers who remained with Kuznetsov did not put up a tent, but simply spread it out and lay on top and froze.

Two returnees, Alexander Novoselov and Lydia Martina, failed to reach Kuznetsov 120 meters. They didn’t have enough strength. A storm raged on the plateau, wind gusts reached 50 m/sec, the temperature dropped to -30.

The tourists who went down scattered throughout the valley and froze, and one of them, Ilya Altshuller, fell into the abyss. All this happened on January 27 between four and five o’clock in the morning.

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It seems that the mistakes of the expedition leader are obvious. But relatives of the victims are still tormented by doubts. Why did Kuznetsov lead the group to the pass in worsening weather conditions and virtually in the dark? What or who drove the skiers first up the mountain and then down it?

Why didn’t Kuznetsov put up a tent? When G. Shapkin’s group found themselves in a similar situation at this place in 1965, it was the tent that allowed the tourists to survive. Kuznetsov could not have been unaware of this.

Adding to the mystery of the story are rumors that the criminal case into the death of tourists is classified, as well as the fact that in 2019, Nizhny Novgorod resident Viktor Voroshilov was killed. He independently investigated the circumstances of the death of the group and, on the eve of his death, interviewed rescuers who participated in the search. He believed that external circumstances led to the death of tourists.

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Zoe Mitchell

Zoe Mitchell is an independent researcher and writer on extraordinary topics. She has a passion for delving into the realms of UFOs, paranormal phenomena and the enigmatic.

Zoe has a degree in journalism and a keen interest in history, mythology and folklore. She believes that there is more to reality than meets the eye, and that the truth is often stranger than fiction.

One comment

  1. Even for Dyatlovs group these deaths are a mystery. Igor Dyatlov was experienced and he was a local as well. If there would have been a serious threat with avalanches he would never ever make a break and put up a tent if the danger of avalanches were present. The original investigators were sworn to silence because there were quite unusual results: the boy were just half covered with clothes,one was found like he obviously climbed a tree (in a case of an avalanche quite senseless their tongues eyes lips and other body parts were missing and the bodies were contamined with radioactive radiation. What it ever was what killed these people – it was not an avalanche,infrasound or a failed rocket test. You find similar incidents with similar victims Sgt Lovett or the Guapiranga-man for example. Google and decide for yourself.

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