couldn't see it, you couldn't smell it"
Summary of the interview with Mr. Yakov Smertenko, a driver who drove
clean-up workers to Chernobyl and now lives in USA.
the incident] authorities began to drive out their people right away, on the
27th-28th. The train station was packed, airports were packed. My oldest child
was 12, the youngest was 3-4 years old. The oldest went to our relatives to
Stavropol, in May, when everybody found out.
went in from Kiev about a week later, to drive the clean-up workers. I already
knew what happened. - the guys came back and told me. All transportation that
was able to transport the people was directed to Chernobyl. In some places
they stood for 5-10 minutes. People went out on to the street, took the apples
and pears that were growing on the trees. Those who ate got sick, and so did
everybody who went outside.
workers worked for a week. They would come from all over at a certain time.
They went there on their own free
will. I drove these workers two times to Pripyat. I went there for
about an hour each time. Workers who went there for a week were paid a
thousand rubles. We washed and checked all the buses for radiation. We were
wearing rubber suits and gas masks.
got sick. - thyroid - in August. My hands were shaking, a severe weakness,
enlarged thyroid; surgery - in September or October. The water was
"How would it be, what would be next?"
First you can't drink, then you can't eat. - some fruits, vegetables,
1993, I visited Kiev and my workplace, but didn't see any of the 40 drivers
who went to Chernobyl."
the full transcript of this interview, click here.