Every couple of years, journalists check in with Chernobyl. It was one of the worst industrial disasters the world has ever seen, with an explosion and fire at the nuclear power plant that blanketed surrounding areas in radioactive fallout. As correspondent Bob Simon covered for CBS News last month, Chernobyl remains deadly. Nearly 200 tons of fuel are still trapped in one of the reactors.
Accompanying Simon on his trip to Ukraine was Danny Cooke, a freelance filmmaker who used the opportunity to bust out a drone. Using a DJI Phantom 2 with a GoPro, Cooke documented the abandoned institutions of Chernobyl and Pripyat, a nearby town. The footage is arresting; a Ferris wheel that was never ridden, gargantuan trees, and a rotting, sunken dock.
“Chernobyl is one of the most interesting and dangerous places I’ve been,” Cooke wrote of the experience. “It caused so much distress hundreds of miles away, so I can’t imagine how terrifying it would have been for the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens who were forced to evacuate.”