Monday Mystery-Dyatlov Pass Incident

Introduction

The Dyatlov pass incident refers to the mysterious deaths of nine ski hikers in the northern Ural mountains on the night of February 2, 1959. A group was formed for a ski trek across the northern Urals in Sverdlovsk Oblast. The group, led by Igor Dyatlov, consisted of eight men and two women. Most were students or graduates of Ural Polytechnical Institute.

At the point of their disappearance, the goal of the ill-fated expedition was to reach Otorten, a mountain that was approximately 6 miles away. The unfortunate hikers never reached their destination, and chillingly enough, the word “Otorten” translated from Mansi (indigenous peoples in the area) language, means “Mountain of the dead men.”

The two women on the expedition were Zinaida Kolmogorova and Lyudmila Dubinina, and the other men were Alexander Kolevatov, Rusterm Slobodin, Yuri Krivonischenko, Yuri Doroshenko, Nicolai Thibeaux-Brignolle, Alexander Zolotarev, and Yuri Yudin.

On the morning of January 27, 1959, the group left Vizhai to begin their trek.Vizhai is the northernmost inhabited settlement in the region. On January 28th, one of the hikers, Yuri Yudin, fell ill and had to turn back.This turned out to be a life-saving turn of events for Mr. Yudin, as he is the sole survivor of the doomed expedition. On January 31, the group began to climb.

On February 1st, the hikers reached Kholat Syakhl, the mountain pass that has since been renamed “Dyatlov Pass” since the incident occurred.When they reached the pass, their plan was to cross over and set-up camp on the other side.Weather conditions worsened, a snowstorm ensued, and the hikers lost their direction due to decreasing visibility.In the confusion of being lost, the group discovered that they had hiked to nearly the top of the mountain pass, so they decided to pitch camp where they were, and head out the next day.They never made it past this point.

It was decided beforehand that Igor Dylatov was to send a telegraph on February 12th to the group’s sports club as soon as they reached Vizhai upon their return. February 12th came and went, with no communication from the hikers. Most people were not alarmed because delays are not uncommon for expeditions – besides, they were nine experienced and capable hiker. The families of the hikers became increasingly concerned in the days that followed. On February 20th, the Ural Polytechnic Institute formed a rescue party consisting of students, and faculty – to no avail so that eventually, police and army forces mounted a full-scale official search and rescue party for the nine missing hikers.

The bodies found

On February 26, the searchers found the abandoned and badly damaged tent on Kholat Syakhl. Mikhail Sharavin, the student who found the tent, said “the tent was half torn down and covered with snow. It was empty, and all the group’s belongings and shoes had been left behind.” Investigators said the tent had been cut open from inside. A chain of eight or nine sets of footprints, left by several people who were wearing only socks, a single shoe or were barefoot, could be followed and led down toward the edge of nearby woods. At the forest edge, under a large cedar, the searchers found the remains of a fire, along with the first two bodies, those of Yuri Krivonischenko and Yuri Doroshenko, shoeless and dressed only in their underwear. The branches on the tree were broken up to five meters high, suggesting that a skier had climbed up to look for something, perhaps the camp. Between the cedar and the camp the searchers found three more corpses, Dyatlov, Zina Kolmogorova and Rustem Slobodin, who seemed to have died in poses suggesting that they were attempting to return to the tent. These four were better dressed than the others, and there were signs that those who had died first had apparently relinquished their clothes to the others. Zolotaryov was wearing Dubinina’s faux fur coat and hat, while Dubinina’s foot was wrapped in a piece of Krivonishenko’s wool pants.

A legal inquest started immediately after finding the first five bodies. A medical examination found no injuries which might have led to their deaths, and it was concluded that they had all died of hypothermia. Slobodin had a small crack in his skull, but it was not thought to be a fatal wound.

An examination of the four bodies which were found in May changed the picture. Three of them had fatal injuries: the body of Thibeaux-Brignolles had major skull damage, and both Dubinina and Zolotarev had major chest fractures. According to Dr. Boris Vozrozhdenny, the force required to cause such damage would have been extremely high. He compared it to the force of a car crash. Notably, the bodies had no external wounds related to the bone fractures, as if they were crippled by a high level of pressure. Major external injuries were, however found on Dubinina, who was missing her tongue, eyes, and part of the lips, facial tissue and a fragment of skullbone;she also had extensive skin macerations on the hands.

What happened on the expedition that drove nine experienced hikers to start off into the woods, some barely clothed? What force killed four of the company, whose injuries are inconsistent with violence?

 

What Twilight could have been-George R.R Martin’s ‘Fevre Dream’ Book Review

The latest book to be offered up for reading was by George R.R Martin, the modern day uncrowned king of fantasy. While much attention is of course given to A Game of Thrones and its TV spin-off, Martin has of late looked into his back-catalogue from the 80s and 90s, and has published a few bits here and there. One of these is Fevre Dream.

The Blurb doesn’t give away too much as to what this book has waiting for the reader, with a short synopsis only telling us a man named Abner Marsh runs a steam ship company in the 1850s, and a new client is hoping to help him build the ship of his dreams.

Soon into the book, we see the captain and his financier have different ideas in mind for their new boat. Abner Marsh wants a ship that will be famed all along the Mississippi-with a speed that will outmatch names like The Southerner and The Eclipse. On the other hand, the enigmatic but curious Joshua York talks little of profit and fame. His orders to Captain Marsh are simple; to give him a boat where he will be captain,where his odd hours are not questioned and where his word is absolute. And with that, the Fevre Dream is born, with all its 19th century splendour. But soon strange tales are spreading between sailors. There is talk of a captain, who never sees the light of day, but always comes out at night. His skin is pale as moonlight, and the company he keeps are equally as queer. And with river talk sufficient to ruin any ship, no matter what its grandeur, in time Abner Marsh has to come face to face with the man who is now his partner.

This book is a fitting testimony to Martin’s versatility within the fantasy genre. What strikes the reader first is the author’s unquestionable dedication to research. By the end of the first chapter, we have already been hurled back a hundred and fifty years in time, to a world where slavery is still rife, and talk of abolition is starting to stir. Here Martin also begins to show how much he has looked into the supernatural world, even going so far as to poke holes where he sees fit and strike up new definitions. Unlike other fantasy novels, where going against the grain is often perilous and amateur, here it feels really under control.

The book starts at a good time, with the exposition nearly completely finished in the first chapter and the plot opening up almost right away. The first half of the book is gripping, as the mystery surrounding Joshua York begins to unravel, re-wind and then fall apart again. The second half of the book feels a slight bit different. A small climax came near the mid-point, and so after that I really felt I should have been out the gap and on to another book rather than plodding further along. I think a small portion of the narrative dragged, as it didn’t seem to flow as the reader expected, with a lot of the twists coming off as unrealistic. It was at this point that it suddenly dawned on me who wrote the book. Then I got depressed, as each gut punch from Martin came bit-by-bit, slowly showing me that what I wanted for this book was not what I was gonna get. Old habits die hard, they say, and I guess here it was pretty evident.

The real finish did give me some bit of satisfaction with the novel, and had it come earlier it might have been the perfect ending. But how the author worked the whole story probably meant he had to have a prolonged ending, so I guess he is justified in that sense. This is 100% the type of book where much can’t be said without ruining it, so I’ll close with the above. Highly recommend it as a read, especially if you enjoy Martin’s writing.

 

Chewsday-July 1st

This week it’s the Round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup. In order to do it justice, we’ll give both our facts to the infamous stage where champions emerge and supposed favourites are crushed by the outsiders.

Since the World Cup began in 1930, the competition has seen controversial matches of all shapes and sizes. Back in 1966, Pele was on the losing side of a bloodbath, when a talented Portuguese side, having seen the success the Hungarians (who were a jaded team living in the shadow of a masterful 1950s side) had in dealing with the Brazil No.10, proceeded to violently foul the player for an entire ninety minutes and not even have a player dismissed. Forty years later, things were different when a passionate Zinedine Zidane bowed out of international football on the grandest stage of them all; his end coming in the form of an enigmatic headbutt to the body of Italian defender Marco Materazzi. Fairly shocking. But then what was the most violent match of them all, at least by statistical standards? Enter the Battle of Nuremberg, a round of 16 clash in the 2006 finals, played out surprisingly by the Netherlands and Portugal. Russian referee Valentin Ivanov had his hands full, having to issue a record four red cards and 16 yellow cards, setting a new record for cards shown at any FIFA-administered international tournament.

The match ended 1–0 to Portugal, with Maniche scoring in the 23rd minute. Before the goal, Van Bommell had been booked and in the eighth minute, Dutch defender Boulahrouz was cautioned for a foul which injured Ronaldo and would eventually force the substitution of Portugal’s star winger before half time. Ronaldo left in tears, and proceeded to describe Boulahrouz’s tackle as “clearly an intentional foul to get me injured.”In the meantime, Maniche had been booked for a foul on Van Bommel after 19 minutes.Costinha was sent off just before half time, the culmination of a foul and a handball. After Petit had been cautioned in the 50th minute, Van Bronckhurst and Luis Figo both received yellow cards, with Figo’s coming as a result of a headbutt. Portugal manage Luis Felipe Scolari controversially approved of the foul after Figo had been incited, “Jesus Christ may be able to turn the other cheek but Luís Figo isn’t Jesus Christ. Scolari also escaped punishment.

Boulahrouz was sent off in the 63rd minute with a second caution after fouling Figo, which sparked a melee on the touch line. Portugal’s playmaker Deco roughly fouled Dutch defender Heitinga and was booked; the Netherlands had held onto the ball after Portugal had cleared it into touch to allow a player to receive medical treatment, thus breaking one of football’s unwritten rules. Deco received his second caution and was dismissed in the 78th minute for delaying the restart after a free-kick was awarded. Philip Cocu escaped a caution for wrestling Deco to the ground in his attempt to retrieve the ball. Meanwhile, Van Bronckhurst received his marching orders. Overall, Sepp Blatter quoted on the matter saying “the referee should have gave himself a yellow card”, but later apologised.

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For our second fact, we go back to 1990. It’s the second round, Italy is the scene and two nations hold their breath as it becomes clear only one team is going to emerge. And no, this fact is not about the Ireland-Romania match. While Ireland’s heroics in the second round of Italia 90 are applauded to this day, one of the surprisingly lesser known matches came in the form of a Brazil-Argentina clash. At half time, the game was stuck at 0-0, and although Brazil seemed to be controlling the play, no goal was in sight.Aan Argentinian went down injured around this time. During this interruption Branco – later to play in England with Middlesbrough – drank from a bottle supplied by Argentina’s physio Miguel di Lorenzo.Shortly afterwards, against the run of play, Claudio Caniggia scored the only goal of the game from a Diego Maradona pass, putting Argentina into the quarter-finals.

Suspicion of foul play was first raised two days later by Branco, who said he had felt dizzy and ill after drinking the water. Maradona later admitted on public TV that after he offered the water to the Brazilians, Branco was ‘falling over’ after taking free kicks. The coach Bilardo has also said “I’m not denying it happened”. So although the incident has never been proved, the suspicion remains.

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