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French Tourists Arrested After Entering Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

French Tourists Arrested After Entering Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Four French tourists have reportedly been arrested after illegally wandering around the Chernobyl radioactive exclusion zone.

They were part of a group of 17 travellers who were nicked by Ukrainian National Police in the abandoned villages of Lyubyanka and Bychki, in the ghost city of Pripyat and at the 'Chernobyl-2' facility.

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The group, who were caught wandering around with a tour guide, consisted of three French citizens while the rest are Ukrainian citizens aged between 18 and 42 years old.

According to the Administrative Code of Ukraine, the adventurous bunch could now face fines of between 350 and 510 UAP (£11 and £17 GBP) for the "violation of the requirements of the radiation safety regime in areas exposed to radioactive contamination."

The tourists were caught by Ukranian National Police and face fines. Credit: CEN
The tourists were caught by Ukranian National Police and face fines. Credit: CEN

Ever since the catastrophic meltdown of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on 25 April 1986, the area surrounding it has been restricted to the public.

But despite the possibility of being caught by police and facing fines, thousands of people flock to the region every year. Companies offer tours of the area that are filled up by intrepid explorers looking to capture a glimpse into the Soviet era, as well as to see the aftermath of a tragedy that left 2,600km of uninhabitable space and claimed many lives.

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According to reports, a large part of the rise in interest in the area is due to the recent Sky Atlantic mini-series, Chernobyl, which stunned audiences with its realism.

The group was being lead around the exclusion zone by a tour guide. Credit: CEN
The group was being lead around the exclusion zone by a tour guide. Credit: CEN

Earlier this year, LADbible spoke to Martin Duben, part of the team behind CHERNOBYLwel.come, which is one of the tour operators taking willing tourists into the exclusion zone.

The first thing that anyone entering the ghost town of Pripyat might learn is that it is far from a ghost town nowadays.

While exact figures are not available, Martin told LADbible that around 75,000 people went to the area last year, with around 100,000 expected in 2019.

He said: "It depends what time of the year you go, the spring and autumn are crowded - months April, May, September and October there are thousands of visitors per weekend.

"The ghost town of Pripyat is not a ghost town at all, you have a hard time trying to take a picture where there is no one there. There's too many tourists."

He added: "November is the best time, it's not that cold but there is some snow and it is kind of depressing."

Featured Image Credit: CEN

Topics: World News, Chernobyl

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]

 

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