The bodies on the frozen slopes are spread out in disarray, but what caused the panic? Some succumbed to the cold, but others have inexplicable injuries...
After the group's bodies were discovered, an investigation by Soviet authorities determined that six had died from hypothermia while the other three showed signs of physical trauma. One victim had a fractured skull; two others had major chest fractures, one body was missing both its eyes, and one was missing a tongue. The investigation concluded that a "compelling natural force" had caused the deaths. Numerous theories have been put forward to account for the unexplained deaths, including animal attacks, hypothermia, avalanche, katabatic winds, infrasound-induced panic, military involvement, or some combination of these.
Russia opened a new investigation into the incident in 2019, and its conclusions were presented in July 2020: that the cause of death was hypothermia due to a combination of an avalanche, forcing the group to leave their camp, combined with low visibility. Andrey Kuryakov, deputy head of the regional prosecutor's office, said: “It was a heroic struggle. There was no panic. But they had no chance to save themselves under the circumstances.”"
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