Elena Basykina died with six other mountaineers 18,510 ft up Mount Elbrus in southern Russia in 1987
The body of a Soviet woman mummified in ice and looking like a ‘wax doll’ who died with six other climbers on Europe’s highest peak 31 years ago has been found.
A rescue team brought mountaineer Elena Basykina’s remains down from 18,510 ft Mount Elbrus in southern Russia.
Her relatives said today they had feared that she had been ‘kidnapped or kept hostage’ in the ‘dangerous’ Caucasus region – but vowed to give her a proper burial.
Her body encased in ice was discovered by a group of tourists on the mountain, reported Russian news agencies.
She was 36 when she died.
Her cousin Evgeny said today that her mother had died after her health worsened when Elena disappeared.
He said: ‘We have been waiting for Elena all these 30-plus years.
‘We tried to guess what could have happened to her – and feared perhaps that she was kidnapped or kept hostage somewhere.
‘It is such a dangerous region.’
Elena’s mummified body was pulled from the ice ‘like a wax doll’ 31 years after she disappeared
Near her body rescuers found her Aeroflot air ticket from Moscow to mountain resort Mineralnye Vody dated 10 April 1987 – when Mikhail Gorbachev ruled the Kremlin before the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Her USSR passport was also located among her possessions.
In 1987, Soviet emergency workers had failed to find any of of her group from the Lenin Tourist Club in Moscow who were lost on the mountain when they were hit by an avalanche.
Elena was unmarried and had no children when she died at an altitude of around 13,125 ft on then mountain.
A worker at a Moscow scientific institute, the mountains were ‘the biggest love of her life’, according to Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper which reported her remains were ‘mummified by ice’ and like a ‘wax doll’ after 31 years on the mountain.
Soviet emergency workers failed to find any of the group from the Lenin Tourist Club in Moscow in 1987 who were lost on the mountain when they were hit by an avalanche
Elena’s family feared she had been kidnapped or held hostage in the dangerous mountains of the Caucasus region and will now be able to give her a burial
Her best friend Valentina Lapina perished with her, along with five men.
A friend Nadezhda Dolud said Elena was ‘light-hearted, romantic and elegant’.
Alexey Yaroshevsky, vice-president of the Sports Tourism Federation of Russia, said: ‘The rescue operation has immediately begun but it resulted in nothing in 1987.
‘We continued searching for them the following year but again we had no luck.
‘Elena is the first one from this group to be found.’
After a warm summer, rescuers may not seek to find the other six in her group.
Her cousin Evgeny added: ‘I had good relations withElena when she was alive.
‘We will take care of her body. We have already ordered a slot for her grave at the cemetery.
‘Now we are sorting out how to transport her body to Moscow.’