Flight Takes Tourists Over Chernobyl on Eve of Anniversary

The site of the world's worst nuclear disaster is now Ukraine's top tourist attraction.

You may know that April 26 marks the 35th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in history, but what you may not know is that Chernobyl has since become “the most successful tourist destination in Ukraine.”

At least that’s according to Yaroslav Yemelyanenko , director of Chernobyl Tour, a sight-seeing venture that specializes in “Exclusion Zone” tourism.

And as we near the Chernobyl disaster’s anniversary, Chernobyl Tour has a special opportunity in mind for those who have an interest in what’s being referred to as “dark tourism.”

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster was rated at Level 7 severity -- the highest level -- and has been matched only by the Fukushima nuclear incident in 2011 in Japan. A six-mile radius was dubbed an “exclusion zone,” and nearly 50,000 people were evacuated, never to return.

On April 25, the eve of the event’s anniversary, Chernobyl Tour will take a flight full of participants on a flyover of the exclusion zone. The company says they will remain at the required 900 meters above the zone for safety reasons.

Ukraine International Airlines, or UIA, is a key partner in the flight opportunity; they say the pandemic actually played a key role in this coming together in the first place. According to a CNN interview, the UIA project head said the global reduction in air travel meant more available planes and, also, more time for the airline’s team to review new and unique “creative projects.”

As for Chernobyl Tour, the sky's not the limit. The tour group offers other options for the disaster-curious, including Chernobyl kayaking, river boat trips and extreme ATV rides in the Zone.

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