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Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
Ukraine shell-shocked by air disaster
Relatives of one of the killed during the funeral ceremony at a Lviv cemetery
The whole of Ukraine is in a state of shock

Several days after the air disaster at the Sknyliv air show that killed at least 83 spectators, Lviv is still burying its dead.

A boy is attended to by his grandmother at the reanimation department at the children's hospital in  Lviv
Reanimation units in Lviv are working around the clock
For the third day in a row, several hundred people have been gathering at a local mortuary.

Some come to take the bodies of their relatives or friends, others just to do anything to help. They stand silently and pray.

Memorial services in the nearby chapel have been held practically around the clock.

A young man named Oleg was being remembered as I arrived.

Click here to see how the tragedy unfolded

His father, overcome with tears, was greyer than the chapel's walls.

His mother, wrapped in a black headscarf, was weeping.

The whole city is in mourning, and the mayor has declared another two days of mourning.

Counselling for victims

A blood donation station is overcrowded with volunteers. Many of the donors are young people.

Crashed plane
The plane ploughed into crowds of spectators
One young female donor fainted, and was immediately put on a bed.

The blood station's chief doctor, Ihor Gorbal, says he and his staff have not been home since Saturday morning.

At a nearby hospital, things are now quieter. Only intensive care units units - where 21 people are still in critical condition - are working non-stop.

The hospital's chief doctor, Rostyslav Tymoshchuk, says the victims are being counselled by psychotherapists.

The medical staff have been instructed to talk about everything - except for planes and air disasters.

'Pile of human bodies'

But it is not just the families of the dead and the injured who are still traumatised, in an entire country shocked by what has happened.

Witnesses to the horror crash are finally beginning to take in what has happened.

Serhiy Karnayhov, at the show with his 10-year-old son Maksym, says they were lucky.

He says they escaped death only because Maksym was thirsty and they went to nearby kiosks five minutes before the disaster.

He says the place where they had been standing became a huge pile of crying and groaning victims.

Serhiy says that for a moment the crowd stood silent, in shock.

But then everybody rushed to the pile, after the smell of human flesh brought them sharply to reality.

He says the crowd almost started a fight with the military as the area was cordoned off.

The ambulances arrived very quickly, filling everything with the sound of their sirens.

'Still shocked'

Serhiy still talks about his biggest shock.

He saw a man sitting near an ambulance, trying to put his bone - protruding through a sleeve of his jacket - back in place.

He later heard that the man had saved a child by covering him with his body.

Serhiy, a crime journalist for the past 10 years, is still shocked and cannot stop his hands shaking.

Another journalist told me that he had tried to talk to the two pilots of the fighter immediately after the disaster.

But he said they simply could not understand anything and just stood staring around with a fixed expression in their eyes.




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Talking PointTALKING POINT
Ukraine crash
Could the tragedy have been prevented?
See also:

29 Jul 02 | Europe
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27 Jul 02 | Europe
21 Jul 02 | Country profiles
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