British videographer Danny Cooke had a chance earlier this year to visit Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster. He also visited the nearby abandoned city of Pripyat in the Ukraine.
Cooke shot amazing footage of the area for a 60 Minutes episode, which aired this year as well. However, Cooke had extra footage not used for the show that he just released on his Vimeo channel. What makes this footage extra special is that Cooke shot it using a drone with a camera attached. To say that it”s breathtaking would be an understatement.
“Chernobyl is one of the most interesting and dangerous places Ive been,” wrote Cooke on his website about his trip to Chernobyl. “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,” said Cooke. “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 cant imagine how terrifying it would have been for the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens who were forced to evacuate.”
Aerial view of the Pripyat amusement park in Pripyat, Ukraine. The park was scheduled to open just days before the nuclear disaster Chernobyl.
On his visit to Chernobyl, Cooke says, “There was something serene, yet highly disturbing about this place. Time has stood still and there are memories of past happenings floating around us.”
With no humans, the surrounding forests are slowly reclaiming the city of Pripyat.
An abandoned indoor sports complex in Pripyat, as seen the through the eyes of Cooke”s drone.
Check out the full drone footage in the video below.
In total, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster killed 31 people. The effects of the residual radiation are still being calculated. This disaster was one of only two level 7 nuclear events in human history. It”s haunting to think that our modern world could be frozen like this at any moment.