Nearly 30 years ago, in April 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded. The resultant fallout significantly contaminated over 100,000 square kilometres of land, which will be uninhabitable by humans for at least 20,000 years. Included in this area is Pripyat at ground zero, just a few kilometres from the power plant, and home to a population of nearly 50,000 before the disaster -- thankfully evacuated prior.
It is now considered safe to visit, because the relatively short-lived isotopes released during the disaster have since decayed -- although it is not safe for long stays -- and documentation and permission is required to do so.
Filmmaker Danny Cooke recently made just such a visit as part of a team working on an episode of 60 Minutes for CBS News -- and equipped with a Geiger counter, a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter, a Canon 7D camera and a GoPro3+, managed to shoot some stunning footage of the abandoned city, slowly being taken over by the elements.
"Chernobyl is one of the most interesting and dangerous places I've been. The nuclear disaster, which happened in 1986 (the year after I was born), had and effect on so many people, including my family when we lived in Italy. I can't imagine how terrifying it would have been for the hundreds of thousands of locals who evacuated," Cooke wrote.
"During my stay, I met so many amazing people, one of which was my guide Yevgein, also known as a 'Stalker'. We spent the week together exploring Chernobyl and the nearby abandoned city of Prypiat. There was something serene, yet highly disturbing about this place. Time has stood still and there are memories of past happenings floating around us."
You can watch the eerie, beautiful, heartbreaking Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl below.