Danny Cooke

WATCH: Drone Captures Haunting Footage of Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone

1 DECEMBER 2014

When the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, Ukraine, melted down on 26 April 1986, it created an exclusion zone stretching 30 km in each direction. The still-highly-radioactive space has barely been entered by humans for almost 30 years.

 

But now British filmmaker Danny Cooke has flown a camera-carrying drone across the abandoned space, providing us with a glimpse into the eerie quiet that's been left behind.

The footage, as you can see above, is pretty haunting.

Nature has taken over much of the once-advanced infrastructure, and what’s left is a tiny snapshot into communist life in the Soviet Union in 1986 - the hammer and sickle still clearly decorate the remaining buildings.

Sadly, the ferris wheels and bumper cars you can see in the video were never actually used - the amusement park they were built for was going to be opened after 1 May 1986, according to Atlas Obscura, four days after the city was evacuated.

The nuclear meltdown itself, which scientists have recently had new insight into, killed 31 people, but the effects of the resulting radiation released into the environment are still being determined - studies on the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown have revealed extensive mutations and genetic damage in the local wildlife.

Cooke created the video while visiting Chernobyl and the surrounding city of Pripyat, which used to be home to 50,000 people, as part of filming for an upcoming feature for 60 Minutes

The site is now classified as safe to visit for short periods of time, and there are even around 197 people reportedly still living in the exclusion zone. Since 2011, tours into the exclusion zone have been available to the public. According to estimates by Ukrainian officials, Pripyat won't be safe to live in for around 20,000 years.

But even with human activity beginning to creep back in, the site is still extremely peaceful (and just a little creepy). Watch the video and take a tour.

Source: Mic, Atlas Obscura