The disaster threatened the people in Russia and the neighboring countries, but also countries as far away as Sweden.
To make the best of a catastrophic situation, the Russian authorities decided that the best thing they could do was to dump hundreds of tons of sand and concrete into the live reactor, so as to seal it up and prevent its continued radioactive discharges. One helicopter pilot was decorated for his heroism in making dozens and dozens of passes over the hot reactor in order to dump the huge cargos of sand and concrete.
Each pass he made over the reactor increased his health risk, but the job had to be done or the reactor would keep bubbling out its deadly fallout for decades to come. The pilot knowingly exposed himself to the deadly radiation so as to save the lives of millions of people, and many more who had not yet been born. As I recall, that pilot died of radiation sickness.
One man died in the place of many others.
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