“A helicopter fell on my kindergarten.” Report from the place of the helicopter crash in Brovary

Report from the place of the helicopter crash in Brovary, which killed 14 people, in including1 child and the Ministry of Internal Affair top officials.

There are bags of bodies in the yard of a kindergarten in a residential area in Brovary. Forensic experts, stepping over a low colored fence, transfer some remains from dirty blankets and sheets into bags as well. Ritualists take them to the funeral service car. Four big black ones, six smaller white ones. All the remains have yet to be identified.

KYIV, UKRAINE - JANUARY 18: People mourn as police cordon off the site where a helicopter crashed in the Brovary city of Ukraineâs Kyiv region on January 18, 2023. Killed at least 16 people, including the countryâs interior minister, his first deputy minister, and the state secretary. (Photo by Oleksii Chumachenko/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

On January 18, at approximately half past eight in the morning, a helicopter of the State Emergency Service crashed on the territory of this kindergarten. Rescuers extinguished the fire, cleared debris and searched for people until almost four in the evening. According to confirmed information, 14 people died, including nine on board. In particular, Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyi, his first deputy Yevhen Yenin, State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lubkovich and their assistants.

Also, the State Emergency Service reported that one child died as a result of the helicopter's fall. However, the identification of the bodies is still ongoing.

— I woke up in the morning because I heard a whistle. The sound was like a flying rocket. I looked at the phone and saw that there was no alarm. And then she looked out the window and in a matter of seconds saw a red-orange glow falling. The house shook. Immediately everything became dark, fragments flew. Through the window I saw dead people, spare parts from the helicopter sticking out of the neighboring house. People were screaming and crying. I thought it was a rocket flying into our house, but from the other side.

Kateryna is standing at the entrance of the house, holding a little girl in a pink jacket. Her family lives on the eighth floor, the windows overlook the kindergarten, in the yard of which the helicopter of the State Emergency Service fell in the morning. Her three-year-old daughter Melania also attended this kindergarten, but her mother did not take her there this morning because the teacher did not go to work. 10-year-old son Ivan, who attends a school next to the kindergarten, studies remotely, so he was also at home.

"I immediately took the children to the bathroom, dressed them, and started collecting things," Kateryna continues. — I saw that the windows were intact and understood that it was not a rocket. Neighbors ran to the first floor. My children and I ran up the stairs, clinging to the elevator shaft. I told my son to take the phone, because we would be knocked down, so that they could somehow find us. Naked bodies were already lying on the street. Children cried, mothers screamed. Someone was running with children's shoes and clothes.

"I was supposed to leave for work in the morning, but I was late," says Kateryna's husband Oleksandr. - I was in another room. In the morning I read in the news that our aviation is in the sky. And then there was such a whistle, as if a fighter jet was flying. I thought it would fly by and that was it. But the whistle only grew. When we left with the children, there was a white veil in the yard, people were shouting. We got into the car and drove closer to the track, and then I took them to my relatives and now we are back home.

On one side of the kindergarten lie the remains of a helicopter, next to a residential building. A burnt and mutilated screw rests against one of the entrances. The place is fenced off with a red and white tape so as not to interfere with the work of forensic experts, the police and rescuers. There is also a white minibus, where ritual workers load black bags with the dead.

Municipal workers carry bodies of a helicopter crash victims from a kindergarten in Brovary, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The chief of Ukraine's National Police says a helicopter crash in a Kyiv suburb has killed 14 people, including Ukraine's interior minister and his deputy and one children. He said nine of those killed were aboard the emergency services helicopter. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

On the other side of the kindergarten, the windows of which overlook the school, the bodies of the dead are also lying in bags. Instead of the second floor of the kindergarten, there is a hole. Rescuers throw glass and fittings into the street. A construction crane lifts the floor slabs. Part of the building's rooms burned down due to a fire that started after the helicopter crashed.

Schoolchildren Hleb, Andrii, Vitya and Anton were among the first to arrive at the scene of the disaster. Gleb studies in the eleventh grade. In the morning, he was at a nearby polyclinic, undergoing a medical examination. Suddenly, one of the doctors ran into the room and shouted that a rocket had fallen on the kindergarten and immediately ran to the spot. Hleb did not immediately realize what had happened, until Anton called him and said that his area was full of smoke.

"I didn't understand where to run first," says Gleb. - On one side of the kindergarten were the wreckage of a helicopter. On the other side, through the fence, people handed over children and carried them to school. Boys and I took three children - seven-year-old girls and one six-year-old boy. Small wounds were treated with peroxide, bandages were applied, hearing and vision were checked, and the patient was asked where the pain was. Then they wrote down their names and surnames. One girl did not remember hers. The girls were picked up by a teacher from their group. They shouted very much that they wanted to go home. We gave them some sweets, toys to somehow calm them down. The boy had scratches. I asked what happened, and he answered: "A helicopter fell on my kindergarten." I tell him not to tell his mother that, because his mother will cry and worry, it is better to say that the cat scratched while visiting. When his mother came running, he told her that about the cat. Mom laughed a lot. I think it was the happiest day of her life. Hleb recalls that rescuers and medics arrived almost immediately, since both the fire department and the hospital are nearby. However, for a long time cars could not pass through cars parked in the yard. They and their friends grouped several men and pulled the cars away so that the heavy equipment could pass.

"Everything happened quickly," says Gleb. — I remember there was also a teacher with a concussion. We took tea, cookies for her, calmed her down. We did not get the dead children. I hope they were not in kindergarten.

However, as of four in the evening, after the end of search and rescue operations, the rescuers reported the death of one child. In addition, 24 people, including 10 children, have injuries of varying severity. They were immediately taken to the local brewery hospital. Four adults and four children were later transferred to a burn center in Kyiv.

"I found out about what happened when my daughter called me," says one of the nurses near the reception of the hospital in Brovary. - He says, mother, wait, now you will have a real tin. And so it was.

"I can still see this little girl that dad brought," says another nurse. - She had such a jacket, all torn, fluff was pouring out of it through the holes. Then another man immediately ran in with another girl in his arms. Shouts: "Where to?" I answered that immediately to the intensive care unit. And then they started bringing in more children, third, fourth... It's just some kind of hell.

"I was at work from half past eight in the morning," says doctor Serhii Viktorovych. — I found out about what happened when they started bringing us patients. And then I read it in the news. Now everyone is getting help. Relatives and victims do not want to communicate with anyone yet.

A young girl is sitting next to the reception, holding her and her husband's jackets in her hands. Her name is Khrystyna. She twirls the wedding ring in her fingers and does not take her eyes off the floor. Her husband's mother is a kindergarten teacher. She was at work when the explosion happened.

"When everything happened, we didn't have internet or electricity at home," says Khrystyna. — The man went outside to call his mother. She was just inside, having breakfast. Shards of windows flew not inward, but outward. I am pregnant, my husband went to kindergarten with his brother. He said that he saw people covered in blood, some woman who shouted: "Where is my child?" My husband's mother suffered a fracture, and now she is being bandaged.

Khrystyna's husband leads a short woman in glasses out of the long hospital corridor. She slowly steps on the injured leg, holds on to her son with her hand. The three of them leave the hospital.

- No, girls, I understand everything, but I don't want to talk now. I don't want to, - says the woman and goes to the car to pick up her son.

Meanwhile, white funeral home buses arrive at the crash site near the house. A ritualist in a green jacket gets out of the car, sits on a bench near a children's swing and smokes a cigarette. Behind him, rescuers continue to throw glass from the building's windows and install supports to prevent the structure from collapsing. The machinery has almost stopped working, the engines are silent, therefore, apart from the crackling of the glass, almost no sounds can be heard on the street.

A ritualist in a green jacket approaches the place where the bags with the bodies of the dead are lying. Several men in black jackets put the bags on stretchers and carry them to the white buses. None of them want to talk.

BROVARY, UKRAINE - JANUARY 18: Firemen roll up hoses in front of debris as emergency service workers respond at the site of a helicopter crash on January 18, 2023 in Brovary, Ukraine. Eighteen people have been killed, including Ukraine's interior affairs minister Denys Monastyrsky along with eight other helicopter passengers, after they crashed near a nursery in a Kyiv suburb. (Photo by Ed Ram/Getty Images)

Local residents with children approach the house next to which the remains of the helicopter lie. They bring flowers tied with black ribbons, toys, candles, lamps. They stop, cross themselves, say something quietly to each other.

- Did anyone die here today? I ask the woman, who is holding a little boy with one hand and wiping away tears with the other.

- No, but my son goes to a neighboring kindergarten. We live here.

"Mom, mom, let's go there and see," the boy says quietly, pointing with his hand in the direction of the kindergarten, where the ritualists had just taken out the bodies.

- No, we will not go there today, - answers mother.

Ukraine Front Lines

Original article and photo credits: Suspilne

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