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A group dedicated to solving the mysterious deaths of nine hikers in 1959 blasted the results of a new investigation into the case, which concluded they were crushed by an avalanche or had succumbed to the blistering cold.

The demise of nine fit young university students in the Urals has puzzled many for more than six decades. Their empty tent was found to have been cut open from the inside with a sharp object, and their bodies - some naked, others shoeless or half-dressed - were scattered nearby, several with skull fractures, facial damage, and massive internal injuries, on a slope that locals would later dub "the Mountain of the Dead."

The Soviet investigation failed to determine how the group perished and the mystery eventually spawned more than 70 different theories, including the intervention of a UFO.

The Russian prosecutor-general revived the probe into the case last year, and delivered his 'final' conclusion on Saturday. He said the hikers had been driven out of their tent by an avalanche and had frozen to death after getting lost in a blizzard.

However, the Dyatlov Foundation - an NGO formed in 1999 that has collected and studied all the available information on the incident - refused to accept the prosecutor-general's finding. The group's chief, Yuri Kuntsevich told reporters he has "many issues" with and "complaints" about the way the probe was handled.

"We can see by the way the investigation was conducted that the technological scenario of the [hikers'] death was ignored. However, it's obvious: they died nearby simultaneously."

Kuntsevich said he would be demanding that the investigation be conducted one again.