Fog, a garden and a helicopter that fell nearby. How January 18 became the second birthday for our family

16:07, 18.01.2023

6 min.6284REPORTAGE

Today, January 18, a terrible tragedy occurred in Brovary: a helicopter carrying, in particular, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Denys Monastyrskyi, fell directly on a kindergarten, taking at least 14 innocent lives with it. The UNIAN correspondent happened to be a direct witness of this disaster.

Today is my family’s second birthday… Although a few hours ago it was an ordinary morning, like many before it. As always, my husband and I were going to take our children to their schools: son Vova, seven years old, to school, and five-year-old daughter Polina to kindergarten. The same kindergarten, where a terrible tragedy will happen in 15 minutes, which will turn the lives of many families upside down.

Brovary is a small satellite city of Kyiv, where everything is within walking distance. And our school and kindergarten are located very close to the house, just 10 minutes away.

I never thought I would be happy about the power outage, but it saved us from the worst today, forcing us to walk down from the 15th floor and delaying us for 3 minutes. Do you think that 3 minutes does not solve anything? Well, I thought so too. But in situations like today, it may depend on them whether you live or die.

After leaving the house, we noticed that the streets were covered with a very thick fog, hiding the upper floors of residential buildings, as if under a fluffy blanket. Having reached the school by our usual route, we said goodbye to our son at the gate and headed with our daughter further to the kindergarten, which is located very close, only 100 meters away.

Everything seemed quite familiar, until then we heard the sound of a helicopter approaching.

“It must be difficult to fly in such fog. It’s strange,” my husband remarked.

The sound grew louder and louder. Everything happened too quickly, literally in seconds that it is impossible to even comprehend. Through the thickness of the fog, we could not see the helicopter until the moment of its fall… Falling directly on the kindergarten, to which we had already come very close. I remember that this helicopter was big, red in color.And then the fog seemed to envelop me all over, covered my mind, and all further actions took place on an automatic machine.

My daughter and husband and I fell to the ground, covering our heads with our hands, and burning debris was falling around us. I saw the helicopter fall directly on the place where our group was supposed to be, on the children and their parents, and the realization made me scream uncontrollably from my chest.

The countdown went on for seconds. We grabbed hold and, without turning around, ran back to school. Other people ran along with us, they all screamed, cried, were terrified.

We found our son in the lobby of the school, he was scared and in tears.

“Mom, I thought you were dead,” Vova said in a trembling voice as I hugged him tightly.

He saw the helicopter from the window just as it was flying sideways into the garden, and imagined the worst.

According to an eyewitness, the helicopter flew sideways to the kindergarten / photo UNIAN, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi
According to an eyewitness, the helicopter flew sideways to the kindergarten / photo UNIAN, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

At the moment when we ran into the school, the staff was just taking the children from the classrooms to the shelter. No one still fully understood what was happening.

Having calmed our son a little, we ran headlong home, not remembering ourselves. In this state, it seemed that the worst was yet to come, that the fall of the helicopter was only the beginning of something inevitable. There was an absolute sense of the unreality of what was happening.

On the way, we saw the parents of the daughter’s classmates, who had already managed to take their children to kindergarten, and now they were running with all their might back to the scene. From the frozen look of inhuman horror in their eyes, everything inside was broken.

I prepared for the worst. At the time of the disaster, there were many children and adults, many acquaintances and friends on the porch and in the premises of the kindergarten. But, fortunately, most of those present in the kindergarten, directly in groups, managed to save themselves, the children were taken out by a fire escape.

Relief began to come gradually after we learned that the teachers managed to get the children out… But soon news of the dead began to arrive.

At the time of the disaster, there were many children on the porch and in the premises of the kindergarten / photo UNIAN, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi
At the time of the disaster, there were many children on the porch and in the premises of the kindergarten / photo UNIAN, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

Everyone from our group survived, but the teacher was injured by a shrapnel. She was hospitalized. The fate of the mother of one boy is also currently unknown. She brought her son and was just about to leave kindergarten when the helicopter fell. They still can’t find her.

As we learned later, some managed to escape under completely unpredictable circumstances. For example, one of my friends just didn’t want to take her child to kindergarten today, without any good reason. Whether it was intuition, or fate, or just luck, who knows.

According to other eyewitnesses, as a result of the disaster, not only the kindergarten was affected: a part of the helicopter broke off and aimed directly at a nearby residential building. A fire broke out at the crash site. Rescuers have now cordoned off a large area around the garden and nearby buildings, and are conducting investigative actions.

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

© UNIAN photo, Vyacheslav Ratynskyi

According to preliminary data, it is already known about 17 dead, including four children. 25 people were injured, including 11 children. Search and rescue operations are ongoing.

In addition to the children and their parents, all those on board the helicopter were killed: including the Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyi, his first deputy Yevgeny Yenin and State Secretary Yuriy Lyubkovich. This is the first case in the history of Ukraine when the top leadership of the country died in a plane crash.

As a result of the plane crash in Brovary, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Monastyrsky died / Photo UNIAN
As a result of the plane crash in Brovary, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Monastyrsky died / Photo UNIAN

As far as is known, the helicopter with high-ranking officials was headed to the Kharkiv region.

Currently, the SBU is working on three versions of what happened: a violation of flight rules, a technical malfunction of the helicopter, or deliberate actions aimed at destroying the aircraft.

Every day of this terrible, bloody war is surrounded by a lot of heart-breaking and blood-curdling news. Unfortunately, today is no exception. I, in turn, on my second birthday, now want to say only one thing. Appreciate your life, every minute spent with loved ones. It is the most important and valuable thing that we have.

Kateryna Zhiry

(C)UNIAN 2023

2 comments

  1. It’s a terrible tragedy.
    Sabotage can’t be ruled out. There is no horror that the putler regime won’t stoop to. The filthy ghouls in the kremlin will be laughing.
    Wipe the smiles off their evil fades by giving Ukraine the means to smoke 2000 fucking orcs per day.

  2. Its today exactly 80 years after the beginning of the end of the Siege of Leningrad. A big party with Putin in Leningrad. Must I say more……………..?

What is your opinion?