The beginning of the search operation

Start the search operation. The general chronology of searches.

On February 20, 1959, the Tourist Section of the UPI held an emergency meeting on the agenda of which there was one question: "PE with the group of Djatlov!" Department of Physical Education "Politech" AM Vishnevsky and Chairman of the Student Trade Union Committee V. E. Slobodin. They officially informed that the delay of Igor Dyatlov's group is unauthorized and gives rise to concern about the fate of its participants. The decision of the meeting was unanimous: to urgently organize a search and rescue operation and to form volunteer groups among the students of the institute who are ready to take part in it. It was also decided to apply for help to tourist sections of other universities and institutions of Sverdlovsk. On the same day, the trade union committee allocated the money necessary to purchase food and everything needed for the groups preparing to move to the search area. A 24-hour telephone line was activated, designed to coordinate all the activities of the participants in the unfolding operation. A separate point was the decision to set up a rescue team at the student's trade union committee. 

The next day, on February 21, the tourist groups of Yuri Blinov and Sergei Sogrin, who had just returned to Sverdlovsk from planned campaigns, began to be nominated. The third group of tourists, led by Vladislav Karelin, by coincidence, was already in the North Urals, also declared her readiness to act in the interests of the rescue operation. On the same day a special flight on the An-2 from Sverdlovsk to Ivdel flew the chairman of the sports club UPI Lev Gordo and the aforementioned member of the bureau of the tourist section Yuri Blinov. From that day, they began flying on the plane of the region of the forthcoming searches, moving along the route of the missing group, hoping to see from the air either the tourists themselves or the signs left by them. Running forward, we can say that neither in this, nor in the following days, these flights of the result were not given.
   On February 22, the headquarters of the rescue operation conducted a review of the formed groups in the main building of the UPI. There were three of them, they were led by Moses Axelrod, UPI graduate student; fourth-year student Oleg Grebennik and third-year student Boris Slobtsov. By this time, the results and activity of the regional government had given. It becomes known about the connection to the search of a group of MVD servicemen under the command of Captain A. A. Chernyshov (these were IvdelLAG convoys), as well as groups of cadets of the school of sergeants of the Ministry of Internal Affairs under the command of Art. Lieutenant Potapov (7 people). Local security officials promised (and subsequently kept their promise) to provide search engines for cynologists with dogs, sappers with mine detectors and radio operators with walkie-talkies. From the regional forestry department, two foresters were sent to the headquarters. It was assumed that they would assume the role of conductors. For the same purpose two hunters-mansi were sent to Ivdel. The territory on which the search operation was to be conducted was their traditional area (i.e., the place of residence and fishing).
   On the same days, from Moscow, recognized experts in tourism and mountaineering - Bardin, Shuleshko, Baskin - began to come to the expert assessment of the situation and operational consultations. Operational guidance of the search on the spot - that is, in the mountains of the Northern Urals - was carried out by the most experienced expert in Sverdlovsk, the master of sports expert, E.P. Maslennikov.

According to the general design of the rescue operation, a group of volunteer search engines was supposed to land helicopters at different points of the route of the Djatlov group. Before them the task was set to carry out a search on the terrain of traces of the group's stay and to establish its possible fate (interest for rescuers was represented by parking lots, ski tracks, specially left signs, etc.). Particularly we emphasize that the search involved not only students, tourists from the "Polytech", but also tourists from some other universities and organizations of Sverdlovsk. The extension of search ski groups to the deployment area began on February 23, 1959.
   One of the search groups of 11 people, led by Boris Slobtsov, a student of Polytech, was planted on Mount Ortoten on February 23, in the very place that was the main target of Igor Dyatlov's campaign and his comrades. If the disappeared tourists visited the summit, they should have left traces of their stay there - a clearly visible "bookmark" with a note (such "bookmarks" were usually arranged under a pile of stones and their detection was not a problem). Due to the error of the pilot of the helicopter, the group of Slobtsov landed not on the highest of the three peaks of Otorten, but on one of the neighboring ones, which somewhat delayed the search engines. The next day - February 24 - the skiers began an active search, they moved to the required peak and, having searched the terrain, made sure that the group of Djatlov was not there.
   The group first descended into the valley of the Lozva River, then moved to the valley of the Auspia River. The order for the transfer there was contained in a note by Colonel Ortyukov, dropped from the airplane by the pennant. In the region of Auspii, the search engines of Slobtsov waited for the first luck - on February 25 they came across an old ski track, which, in their opinion, should belong to the group of Djatlov. In the future, this assumption was confirmed - Slobtsov and his search engines really found the ski trail of the missing group. It became clear that it was somewhere nearby, literally in a few kilometers (since there was no more than 15 km to Ottenen, and there the missing tourists did not go).
   It should be emphasized that none of the students-searchers believed in the tragic outcome of the Dyatlov campaign. The general opinion was that there are injured or sick people in the missing group, so Dyatlov and his comrades are sitting in a well-equipped camp and are waiting for help. Local residents, who were also involved in prospecting, were more skeptical, but their opinion was ignored at that time.

Already on the afternoon of February 25, Slobtsov tried to determine in which direction the Djatlov group was moving, for which, in spite of the twilight, he divided his team and sent it up and down the Auspia River. The part that went upstream of the river, the woodpeckers of the woodpeckers quickly lost, the other part stumbled upon a long tourist camp. By all accounts, she should have belonged to the wanted group of Dyatlov, but it was not possible to date the parking, so the discovery did not give anything to the search engines.
   The next day the search unfolded with renewed vigor. The sensation that the object of searches was somewhere near, gave strength. On the morning of February 26, the Slobtsov group broke into three parts: one was faced with the task of finding a grocery store that the Djatlov group had to leave before the ascent to the mountains, the other one was to find the place where the woodpeckers came from the valley of the river Auspia, the third was to go along the old ski line check the version of a possible emergency on the way.
   So, the search engines were divided and started to perform the tasks. The group that was supposed to look for traces of the exit of woodpeckers from the valley of the river Auspia, climbed to the pass, which played the role of a watershed. He represented a kind of saddle to the right and to the left, from which came with a noticeable lowering of the valley of the two rivers - Auspia and Lozva. This group consisted of three people - UPI students Boris Slobtsov and Mikhail Sharavin, as well as local forest ranger Ivan Pashin, the most common 50-year-old Russian peasant who lived all his life in the village of Vizhay and worked in the local forestry.
   The ridge of the pass, on which three skiers came out, connected Mount Holat-Sahyl (the Russified name "Holatchahl") and an unnamed height of 905.4. (Mapping in 1959 was not as accurate as it is now, so the heights of many peaks on the maps of that time differ from those indicated on the current maps.) The height of the Holat-Sahyl mountain was then determined at 1079 m , now it "grew" to 1096.7 m. "The height of other mountains also differed somewhat." In this essay we will adhere to modern data.) Explorer Ivan, tired of climbing to the pass, somewhat lagged behind, and then in general sat down to rest, refusing to accompany students. Slobtsov and Sharavin moved forward alone. After a while, their attention was attracted by a black dot on the northeastern slope of Holat-Sahyl, looking closely, the students realized that they saw a partially tent-covered tent.

Approaching her, Slobotsov and Sharavin guessed that they had finally found the tent of the Djatlov group and no other. The fact is that this tent was very unusual and well recognizable - it was sewn from two 4-person tents, extending by 2 times, why its dimensions were 1.8 m * 4 m. Boris Slobtsov personally took part in the construction of the tent in 1956 so he could not be mistaken in the identification.
   The tent was oriented by the entrance to the south. The northern part of it was covered, it was covered with snow 15-20 cm thick. By the general appearance and density of the snow, it could be concluded that it did not appear here as a result of the avalanche, but was blown out by the wind. Next to the tent was a pair of skis stuck in the snow, and directly at the entrance of the snow sticked ice ax. On the icebreaker lay the jacket-storm, which belonged to Igor Dyatlov (however, at different times Slobotsov and Sharavin talked about the discovery of this storm differently: she was lying on the icebreaker at the entrance, then right in the snow at the entrance, then her sleeve was peeping out of the tent. It is already impossible to achieve full accuracy in this matter, but the main thing in all these memories is that the search engines found the Dyatlov stormstorm immediately as soon as they approached the tent. "In the pockets of Djatlov's jacket were found a penknife on a carbine and a notebook with a photograph of Zina Kolmogorova - neither one nor the other shed light on what happened in the missing tour group). The two lower buttons at the entrance to the tent were unbuttoned, from the formed slit outward protruded a sheet, which served as a canopy. By the general appearance of the parking lot, it was immediately possible to conclude that there were no living people in the tent. On the roof of the tent lay a pocket flashlight made in China, a layer of snow under the flashlight body was 5-10 cm, while there was no snow at all on the flashlight itself. Later the flashlight was identified as belonging to Igor Dyatlov. Boris Slobtsov picked it up and turned it on - the flashlight lit.
   Discarding the skis, Sharavin and Slobtsov tried to examine the tent. The first began to rake the snow that had been piled onto it, and the second, armed with the found ice ax, began to strike at the roof slope, expecting quick access to the central part of the tent. It was quite easy to tear the tarpaulin with an ice ax, especially since the cloth was already cut in several places. In the process of chopping the tent, the blade of the ice ax (as it turned out later) got into a sack with breadcrumbs and punched it.

Throwing off the torn with an ice ax, Slobtsov and Sharavin gained access to the interior of the tent. With relief, they saw that there were no corpses-this discovery strengthened the hope of finding the wanted comrades alive and healthy somewhere else.
   The search engines did not conduct a thorough search - there was no time for this, because the weather spoiled and a snowstorm began. Capturing an ice ax, flashlight, Djatlov's storm, and also 3 cameras and a flask with alcohol, found during a cursory examination of the tent, Slobtsov and Sharavin headed back to the camp. At about 4:00 pm new search engines joined the group of Boris Slobtsov - the Mansi hunters, who were to assume the role of conductors, and the radio operator Nevolin Yegor Semyonovich. This man, perhaps, was the only actor who directly observed the progress of the search operation from its beginning to the very end. Nevolin had a walkie-talkie with him, so the Slobtsov group got a stable connection with the leadership. At 18:00 (the session time is known exactly) Nevolin transferred a radiogram to the headquarters of the operation, in which it was reported that a tent had been found. Soon an answer was received, which contained an instruction to prepare a place for the reception of a large search group. For its deployment, it was intended to put two 50-seat army tents. In addition, the radiogram reported the departure of the employee of the Prosecutor's Office to the location of the Sluqov group, who was to conduct the necessary investigative actions on the spot, as well as Colonel Ortyukov. The latter was to lead the search on the spot.

The diary of the group Igor Dyatlov's campaign, picked up by Slobtsov while inspecting the tent, was carefully studied by the search engines. The last entry was dated January 31, it followed that on that day the tourists made an attempt to leave the valley of the Auspia River and in a couple of days to make a quick transition to Ottöten, the main goal of his campaign. For maximum unloading, they decided to build a storage - a warehouse of things and products, the needs for which in the near future was not foreseen. In other words, climbing the mountain was planned lightly, with a minimum load. When they returned from Ottern, they were to pick up the cargo left in the storage room. Judging by the entries in the diary, as of January 31, all members of the group were in good health and mood. And that was good news.

Another good news was that in the jacket-windbreaker brought Slobtsov and Sharavin to the camp, was a metal box, which contained the passport of Igor Dyatlov, money in the amount of 710 rubles. and train tickets for the group members. The fact that a significant amount of money was untouched, according to the consensus of the members of the search group, testified that the missing tourists were not attacked by fleeing criminals. And therefore, the reason for their absence has no criminal underpinnings.
   Over dinner, the search engines decided to drink alcohol found in Djatlov's tent, which was done with considerable (and quite understandable) enthusiasm. The episode with drinking alcohol is a very important moment, which now needs to be paid attention, since it will still have to return in the course of the subsequent narrative. Then there was a very curious exchange of remarks, which can not be ignored. Boris Slobtsov offered to drink to the health of the wanted children, which the forester Ivan Pashin very grimly responded: "You'd rather have a drink for the rest!" The students were enraged, counting the cynical and irrelevant replica of the local resident, the case almost came to a scuffle. Even then, after the discovery of the abandoned tent, none of them wanted to believe in the bad ...
   The next day - February 27, 1959 - was the transfer of the rescue camp from the valley of the river Auspii to the valley of Lozvy. Since it became known from the diary of the hike that the group Dyatlova decided to leave from Auspiya, it was logical to assume that this is exactly how the missing tourists arrived. And so the search had to be moved further along the supposed path of their journey, that is, closer to Oorten.
   Slobtsov's group was again divided: part of the force was directed to the search for a storage, someone began to collect a tent, and two search engines - Yuri Koptelov and Mikhail Sharavin - went to the Lozva Valley to find a new place for the camp. They climbed to the pass and began in such a way that the mountain of Holat-Syahyl was on their left hand, the valley of Auspy - behind them, and right in front of them - the valley of the Lozvy river. Their attention was attracted by a tall cedar, standing on a high hillock above the stream, somewhat below the pass. This stream was one of the numerous tributaries of Lozvy, on that winter day, of course, it was completely bound by ice and covered with snow. The cedar stood on the steep bank of the stream, to climb up to it from the stream it was necessary to overcome about 5-7 m of the slope. The smooth platform, on which the tree was located, was an excellent place for viewing the slope of the Holat-Sahyl and the search engines did not hesitate to go to it. And what happened, when they came down to the tree, read in the next chapter...