New drone footage paints a harrowing picture of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, close to 30 years after one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters.
The images give an insight into the decaying Ukrainian city of Pripyat, which has remained completely cut off since the city was engulfed in flames after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded in April 1986.
The video, called “Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl”, was made by British filmmaker Danny Cooke. He was exploring the abandoned city while making a documentary on the catastrophe for CBS News.
The images are haunting:
When the plant exploded, its 49,000 residents fled. They left behind shops, gymnasiums, and even children’s toys.
Here’s an old swimming pool:
Many of the buildings encapsulate a past Soviet heartland, as Pripyat was once under USSR rule:
Cooke writes on Vimeo, where he published the footage:
“The nuclear disaster, which happened in 1986 (the year after I was born), had an effect on so many people, including my family when we lived in Italy. The nuclear dust clouds swept westward towards us. The Italian police went round and threw away all the local produce and my mother rushed out to purchase as much tinned milk as possible to feed me, her infant son.
It caused so much distress hundreds of miles away, so I can’t imagine how terrifying it would have been for the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens who were forced to evacuate.”
This picture of discarded gas masks sums up the tragedy:
During the disaster, a fire caused radioactive particles to fly into the air and contaminate areas around it. The levels of radiation were lethal.
Three decades on, Cooke, with a guide called Yevgen, spent a week exploring the city. He filmed from the ground and with a drone from above.