Russian Helicopters, April 25, 2014 - Moscow - The largest nuclear power plant disaster that the world has ever seen – at Chernobyl – took place on the night of the 25-26 April 1986.
Saturday 26 April 2014 marks the 28th anniversary of the tragedy that occurred when the reactor in Unit 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. The reactor was completely destroyed, and a large volume of radioactive substances were released into the environment.
Helicopters played a key role in the clean-up operations that followed. During the most difficult time for rescue crews, from 27 April to 5 May, Mi-6, Mi-8 and Mi-26 helicopters completed 1,800 flights. Five thousand tonnes of a mixture containing sand and lead were dropped on the burning reactor to douse the flames. The operation was led by then-Major General Nikolay Antoshkin, who was subsequently promoted to Colonel General and rose to become the deputy commander in chief of the Russian Air Force.
Helicopter crews played a key active role throughout the clean-up operation that followed and in work to build the protective “sarcophagus” around the damaged reactor. Pilots with Russian Helicopter companies, including Hero of the Soviet Union and test pilot Gurgen Karapetyan, Nikolay Bezdetnov and Nikolay Melnik were among those who took part in these missions.
Russian Helicopters expresses its deepest respects for all those who risked their own health and lives to protect humanity from the threat of unchecked radioactive contamination. We are proud that helicopters proved their trusted aides in this endeavour.