After the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, a plume of radioactive fallout forced 350,000 people to evacuate their homes in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus and resettle elsewhere. Residents of Pripyat, the city closest to the plant, left their homes and never returned.
A recent episode of 60 Minutes revisited the site of the disaster to address lingering questions about how to reduce the impact of radioactive material still present at the plant. While on location, cinematographer Danny Cooke used a drone to capture overhead footage of Pripyat. The result is the stuff of zombie movies — abandoned fairgrounds, neglected baby dolls, rusted everything — only the images are all too real. In one shot, hundreds of gas masks lay strewn across the floor of an empty building.
The video is accompanied by “Promise Land,” a haunting song by Hannah Miller. Of his time in Pripyat, Cooke wrote, “There was something serene, yet highly disturbing about this place. Time has stood still, and there are memories of past happenings floating around us.” The footage beautifully captures the aftermath of nuclear disaster — an aftermath that many still live with today.
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