With little protection against the radioactive mess the explosion had created, radiation around the plant was so strong that skin melted off the bodies of the firefighters.
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While the firefighters bravely fought the blaze, a group of Pripyat locals gathered on a railway bridge to get a better view of the colourful flames and the column of light shooting upwards from the site of the explosion.
It was a scene that became one of the most eerie moments in new HBO miniseries Chernobyl.
In the scene, a large group of men, women and young children are seen chatting and laughing on the bridge as the faint sounds of sirens carry on in the background.
As the children play under the bridge, flakes of radioactive debris and dust blows through the air like snow.
It’s a haunting scene – but what happened to the people on the bridge, according to Chernobyl, is even more harrowing.
In the final episode of the series, it was reported that no one who watched the fire from the Chernobyl bridge that night survived.
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In fact, today, the bridge is widely known as ‘The Bridge of Death’.
But while it’s often been reported that everyone who visited the bridge that night passed away, others have dismissed the claims as simply an urban myth.
Although it is known that people did in fact line up to see the fire from the bridge, it’s unclear whether those people on the bridge developed acute radiation syndrome as a result or if they suffered from other health problems such as cancer years down the track.