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5-decade cold case: 9 Russian students killed at Dyatlov Pass by Yeti?

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It's been over five decades in the solving but there are those who now believe that the nine Russian students who died in the snow at Dyatlov Pass in the Ural Mountains in 1959 were attacked and killed by a Yeti. That's correct, the as yet never-before-seen, not-proven-to-exist Yeti. Otherwise known as the Abominable Snowman. Or, as might be the more appropriate term, the Albino Bigfoot, because the beast is Asia's version of the Bigfoot legend. Regardless of what you might choose to call it, a new documentary on the Russian Yeti set to air on the Discovery Channel on June 1 explores the possibility that the students were all killed by the mysterious creature.

Huffington Post reported May 28 that Mike Libecki, the host of "Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives," wanders down the path of least substantiation with regard to the killings, at least entertaining the idea that a savage hominid roams the Ural Mountains and could be responsible for the deaths of the students. Why? Simply because quite a bit of the evidence at the scene of the massacre does not quite add up. Additionally, he points to the Russian government's suppression of evidence about the deaths for three decades.

Although it is true that the Russian government kept the bizarre deaths -- broken ribs, fractured skulls, a body with the eyes gouged out -- of the Dyatlov Pass Incident under wraps for years during the Cold War, the manner in which the students died has never been determined. The official explanation, according to Atlas Obscura, was that the group of hikers died as a result of a "compelling natural force." Speculation, of course, has spawned numerous scenarios and conspiracy theories over the years -- from a mass killing by the Russian government while testing a secret weapon to the party becoming victims of mountain tribes attacking them for trespassing. And the strangeness of the tale gets even more complex with the addition of an intense infrasound heard that night, the sighting of glowing orbs in the mountains, and the fact that several of the party were found partially clothed when found.

“I’ve spent a lot of time alone in the mountains and have had my share of near-death experiences,” he said in a press release. “I know if I went missing, I’d want my family to know what happened to me.”

Libecki brought in Igor Burtsev of the International Center of Hominology, the -- according to Libecki -- foremost authority on the Russain Yeti, which is known as a "menk" in Russia. Believe it or not, the expert has "evidence" that the Yeti inhabits the Ural Mountains. And it all hinges on tracks left at the scene where the Russian students were killed at Dyatlov Pass (none of which, according to the official investigation, were made by anything or anyone other than the humans found there).

Bursev says he has "mountains of evidences" proving the mysterious Bigfoot-like creature exists in the Urals, "nobody wants to see them." Noting that the Yeti has a larger-than-average foot, he claims that there have been over 5,000 eyewitness sightings of the beast in the last fifty years.

"That's a huge number of sightings for a creature that supposedly doesn't exist," Libecki points out.

But does that mean that the Yeti actually lives? There have been thousands of Bigfoot sightings in the Americas but there has yet to be presented definitive proof that an overly large and hairy bipedal mammal inhabits out-of-the-way wilderness areas -- although there have been quite a few videos of dark and shaggy beasts posted to YouTube as candidates.

"Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives" is not the first documentary look at the Dyatlov Pass Incident that explored strange territory. The Travel Channel's "Mysteries At The Museum" and Science Channel's "Dark Matters: Twisted But True" have taken a look at the mystery in the past few years.

"Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives" airs on the Discovery Channel June 1 at 8 p.m. (EST)