Chernobyl: 28 Years Later

Drone flies over and records Chernobyl Landscape


Part of the abandoned Chernobyl site.

by Jack Densmore, Staff Writer

Videographer Danny Cooke posted footage from a drone that filmed Chernobyl and the town of Pripyat on Vimeo earlier in the week.

The shots varied from a Ferris wheel to swings to trees invading the streets of the town of Pripyat. The drone provides a bird’s eye view as well as close shots to many buildings and structures that have stood there, untouched, ever since the nuclear power plant disaster in 1986. During the Cold War the Soviet Union held onto the area of Chernobyl. Close to the end of the Cold War, the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl experienced a meltdown and caused the area and the town of Pripyat to evacuate as radiation invaded the area. Many people who evacuated from Pripyat and Chernobyl experienced effects from radiation in which many got cancer and other illnesses. Among these structures is the amusement park that was abandoned to nature.

Many buildings have become homes for animals. Birds build their nests inside many of the abandoned buildings. Wolves and other animals roam free through the streets. It is believed that although visiting Chernobyl is safe, the soil and water is still radioactive and it is stated by signs before entering Chernobyl and Pripyat to not stay after dark or for long periods of time. Chernobyl and Pripyat is believed to remain radioactive for hundreds of years.

“On approaching the zone, I was aware that radiation is an invisible sensation but regardless my body reacted in a psychological way. My brain was telling me that perhaps I’d made the wrong choice and this wasn’t such a good idea,” Cooke said on an email sent to CNN.

In one of the many shots from the drone, an entire floor is littered with gas masks. This could show what the residents underwent during the disaster. One shot that hits home is the shot of abandoned schools. Seeing the schools makes one think of the impact on the children as well.

“It was too late to go back now, but I’ll never regret ever entering the zone. The sight of the school canteen floor in Pripyat will be something I will never forget in my lifetime. What the evacuees must have gone through is unthinkable,” Cooke said.