Today, 43 years after the tragedy, some data which used to be top secret before, plus the data of today’s scientists’ research of the past catastrophe, are available. A documentary titled “Gagarin’s Last Flight: an Unsolved Mystery”, shot by the “Pool TV” company, can be found on the Voice of Russia’s Web site.
Right after Gagarin’s death, the Soviet government established three commissions – of engineers, of doctors and of flight operators – to investigate. Several hundred of the best experts from 30 institutes were involved. They collected lots of data – but still failed to tell what caused the plane’s crash. However, the government chose to make this data top secret, making them unavailable not only to the public, but to experts as well.
Only in the early years of the new millennium, a group of scientists, mostly those who had taken part in the 1968 investigation, were allowed access to this data. After several years of research, they managed to acquire new sensational details of the tragedy, which were impossible to find back in 1968, because at that time, scientific methods were not as precise as they are today.
The head of the researchers’ group Colonel Igor Kuznetsov says:
“We managed to get the new details thanks to a scrupulous analysis of the old data by the newest methods.”
“One of the old versions of the crash was that Gagarin and Seryogin were killed while trying to take the plane out of a dive,” Colonel Kuznetsov continues. “Our research showed that the pilots were not steering the plane when it was falling, and didn’t even make any attempts to save it.”
“We have found out that Gagarin and Seryogin were not piloting the plane, didn’t answer the flight controllers and didn’t even try to eject from the falling plane. This is shocking! Why were they not doing anything? There can be only one reasonable answer – they were unconscious, probably because of a sharp contrast in pressure. This might have been caused by a loosely closed ventilation faucet in the plane’s cabin.”
There are some experts who do not agree with the conclusions of Mr. Kuznetsov and his team. The old mystery still needs more investigation. The main question still is: what made Gagarin’s plane fall? To find an answer, all materials which have to do with this case must be available to everyone. Even most uncompromising opponents agree in that.
To pay tribute to the world’s first cosmonaut, the Voice of Russia is publishing the 6-episodes documentary “Gagarin’s Last Flight” on its Web site. One can also find there documents of the 1968 investigation, made available by the “Pool TV” company.