TV fans flock to dark tourism site following HBO hit 'Chernobyl'
Published Sunday, June 16, 2019 10:00PM EDT
TV fans are flocking to a dangerous dark tourism site in eastern Europe on the back of the success of HBO’s latest smash hit “Chernobyl.”
One of the worst nuclear accidents in history took place at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine in April 1986.
It saw thousands die from radiation poisoning and the town of Pripyat, which is located near the facility, hastily evacuated.
The site of the horrific nuclear meltdown has attracted visitors for three decades, despite the lingering health risks from the toxic environment.
HBO’s new mini-series follows the events that led to the catastrophe and the subsequent response and reaction.
"The explosion is the least of it,” according to series creator Craig Mazin.
“What happened with the people there, and what people did to fix it is and what people did to cause it is mindblowing."
British tourist Catherine Braison has long been fascinated by the story.
"So, I had already decided to come to Chernobyl before I saw the series, but the series gave a good, or gave me an idea of what to expect and what happened here and it was interesting to watch," she told CTV News.
Once home to 50,000 people, Pripyat has since been turned into what appears to be a Soviet-branded post-apocalyptic theme park.
Dark tourists are known to visit the nuclear plant, a community centre and hospital once used to treat those poisoned by radiation.
Olexiy Breus, once a chief engineer at the power plant, watched friends die as a result of the disaster and witnessed the subsequent Soviet cover-up.
He now guides tours recounting the day of the meltdown, explosion and fire that raged at the site.
"At the time we ran into dangerous rooms full of radiation and steam, smoke and fire,” he said.
Pripyat is thought to be uninhabitable for centuries to come.
--- With files from CTV News Halifax’s Todd Battis