What happened to the people who watched Chernobyl explode on the Bridge of Death.

In the early morning hours of April 26, 1986, a safety test at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine went awry when a sudden power surge occurred.

Instantly, two men were killed in the blast and before long, dozens of firefighters were on the scene attempting to put out the billowing flames.

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.

Watch the official trailer for HBO’s miniseries Chernobyl below. Post continues after video.


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.

Likewise, official reports of the disaster severely downplayed the number of people who developed acute radiation syndrome, making it difficult to verify the story.

Pasha Kondratiev was one of the many people who watched the fire from the bridge that fateful night alongside his wife Natasha and their daughters, 12-year-old Tatiana and 10-year-old Marina.

“I could see the ruins of the reactor. It was completely destroyed and there was a cloud of smoke coming from it. Nobody gave us any information, but we knew it was serious. We knew it was something terrifying,” Pasha told The Guardian.

“When I saw the power plant, I understood at once there was no chance we were going back.”

chernobyl disaster
Pripyat, the ninth nuclear city in the Soviet Union, was left abandoned. Image: Getty.

Two years after the Chernobyl disaster, the couple's daughter, Tatiana, became asthmatic.

Several years later, at age 19, Tatiana collapsed in the street in Slavutych and died.

“Who knows if Chernobyl caused her asthma. All we know is that before the accident she was healthy. She was exposed to radiation when she was 12, which is a critical age for a child’s development. It was probably linked to Chernobyl, but nobody can say for sure,” Natasha told The Guardian.

“From the first day we came to Pripyat, I never wanted to leave. It was paradise. Everywhere there were roses and fruit trees, we could fish in the river and pick mushrooms in the forest. It seemed the place had been created especially for us," she added.

“We went back to Pripyat a few years ago – it was very sad for us. We went to our apartment and saw the rooms and some of the things we left behind in 1986.”

The five-part miniseries Chernobyl is available to watch now on Foxtel.

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