Theories Discussion > Avalanche

Can anyone explain the official explanation of a few months back?

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RidgeWatcher:
Thank you Eurocentric,

I must agree with you and I stand corrected on Lyuda having the bilateral or double flail chest. It is the autopsy photos where I can't visualize any bruising on the outer skin. The photos do not convince me of a fall, dead or not. Would the university students perform CPR or a crude chest compression maneuver? I must be honest and admit that I have never seen flail chest after any length of time post-mortem at least that I can remember.

eurocentric:

--- Quote from: RidgeWatcher on October 14, 2020, 10:23:59 AM ---Thank you Eurocentric,

I must agree with you and I stand corrected on Lyuda having the bilateral or double flail chest. It is the autopsy photos where I can't visualize any bruising on the outer skin. The photos do not convince me of a fall, dead or not. Would the university students perform CPR or a crude chest compression maneuver? I must be honest and admit that I have never seen flail chest after any length of time post-mortem at least that I can remember.

--- End quote ---

I feel sure that some of them would have to know First Aid to be permitted to undertake a trek like this, and their previous ones too, that it would be part of their survivalist certifications. And with most of them being uni students they would also be up-to-date with new developments, one of which was CPR, which was introduced around the time of this tragedy (rolled out in 1960, but developed in 1958). Prior to that chest compressions were done, combined with lifting an arm to drain blood back into the heart with gravity.

Yuri D had a fluid around his mouth at autopsy, and this site reports: "The foamy grey fluid that was found on the right cheek of the deceased started the speculations that before death someone or something was pressing on his chest cavity. This forceful method was common for interrogation by the NKVD (Stalin's Secret Police) and Special Forces. The cause could also be a nasty fall from a tree. This aspect was ignored in the final papers, that read cause of death: hypothermia."

Equally, and while there were no rib fractures reported at his autopsy, it could have been the result of a brief attempt at resus. Even if the others said he was gone I can well imagine his ex girlfriend, Zina, not giving up immediately.

The way I see it is an accident, a fall (including from a tree), or a passing vehicle (!) would in probability terms be unlikely to severely damage only the ribs of two hikers and leave no other bone injuries, whereas the entire trauma area from the aggressive resuscitation of people who have collapsed is limited to their their chest wall, and this unique set of chest injuries, like they exhibited, is repeated through countless similar recorded examples the world over.

Investigator:
eurocentric, I would agree that "brain fog" while in the tent, from hypothermia, is a strong possibility if they hadn't done as much work as they did after they left the tent (walking down the mountainside, starting a fire that was robust, ripping a whole lot of branches off the trees, digging out the "den," and taking the clothing off the "two Yuris" and putting those on themselves.  In the later stages of hypothermia, people tend to slow down and their minds "fog up," but we don't see that even after the two Yuris die!  Why didn't they grab any gear?  I think most of it was not usable at that point, for example, this is from "High Crimes" by Michael Kodas:

"At camp, in temperatures well below zero, they would strip naked outside their tent before climbing inside and starting their stoves in order to avoid filling the shelter with moist air that would saturate dry gear."

Weird things can happen to tents in those circumstances.  Their breathing could have iced up the inside of the tent so that after a couple hours they could have awoken to a thick sheet of ice on both the inside and outside of the cloth of the tent.  I think one of the more likely scenarios is that one of them woke up or one of the sentries noticed that the sides of the tent were solid and starting to crack open, probably near where the two tents were sewn together to make one, depending upon how the wind was striking that side of the tent.  At that point there was a sense that they needed to hurry to make sure it wasn't totally destroyed, starting with trying to knock the ice off, and that may have resulted in them accidentally cutting it here and there.  And then, after securing the tent (it was still intact when rescuers arrived), they apparently thought they could survive by doing what they did, though as I've said in other posts, the better plan might have been to take the blankets with them and find or dig out an area that was protected from the wind, then huddle together using the blankets to create a de facto tent (instead of using up time and energy with the fire idea), but at the time their thinking about this may have been common.  I would agree that their travail may have begun eariler than most believe; a reconstruction of the tent situation would not cost much and the results might be quite illuminating!

eurocentric:
Investigator, the descent down the pass took them away from the exposed ridge, and the forest would not only provide some shelter from windchill, and a large evergreen tree from the snowfall, but they managed to light a fire there, all of which would work towards improving their core temperatures.

But there is a price to pay for all this activity, and that is their energy levels, expending their blood sugars. Other groups in similar crisis may survive if they quickly found shelter and huddled together, conserving their energy, but this group travelled a mile down a rocky mountain pass in the dark, hunted for dry kindling, climbed trees, cut wood with knives, dug a den by hand, climbed more trees for fir foliage, likely attempted resuscitation, and finally three of them headed back to the tent, with one getting as far as halfway there.

These were lean Soviets in 1959, they had no body fat to burn, and once their own 'fuel' is down their livers would not continue to regulate their body temperatures to compensate for the environment they were in, the cold would make their kidneys shut down (no insulin or adrenaline), and their blood oxygen levels would fall from laboured breathing making everything exhausting - in the end Zina, Rustem and Igor would be crawling up the pass, back to square one in terms of where they started from and with hypothermia.

Investigator:
eurocentri, I agree, and I have said somewhere in this forum, I'd also add that they probably did so much physical work, starting with securing the tent, that when they then sat down near the fire, they rapidly lost body temperature but they were likely rather wet from sweating and snow on their clothing melted.  I think they needed to go with the den type idea by itself, letting the two guys who were better dressed do the digging while the rest huddled together in the best place they could (the least windy) holding the blankets around themselves (of course they still could have fallen into that crevasse type feature above the creek).  It was a high risk trip, since they had little or no knowledge of the area, decided not to have any heat available that night, etc., and it doesn't seem all that uncommon, unfortunately.

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