Terrifying images of the aftermath of the strike on Dnipro, Ukraine
Special To The Washington Post January 16, 2023
DNIPRO, Ukraine — Dozens of people were killed Saturday and dozens of others wounded when a Russian missile struck a nine-floor apartment complex in central Ukraine. The timing, on a weekend afternoon, meant many people were at home at the time of the strike. Their apartments collapsed into a heap of rubble, burying many of them underneath.
The strike was especially shocking because Dnipro has been a relative safe haven for Ukrainians fleeing front-line towns elsewhere.
In the hours after the attack, hundreds of people gathered at the scene — some to watch from afar and others to help dig people and pets out. Civilians turned up with hot food and drinks for the rescue teams, who were working in freezing temperatures under falling snow.
One elderly woman, who told rescuers her name was Lyuba, was freed from the eighth floor of one part of the building after rescuers saw her waving a piece of red fabric from where she was trapped under debris. After being lowered down with construction equipment, she was placed on a stretcher and transported to an ambulance — her legs crushed and her face covered in blood.
The bodies of those who did not survive were placed in white plastic bags and set to the side.
The work continued through the night, with floodlights shining on the scene and many workers using headlamps or cellphone lights to search for signs of survivors.
On Sunday morning, a rescuer used his hands to dig away at the debris, eventually creating a small hole. He took off his helmet to fit his head through — in an apparent effort to communicate with a young woman trapped on the other side.
Soon after, the woman was lifted out of the wreckage, wincing in pain as the workers passed her between them. Watching from the street, a woman in a red hat clasped her hands over her mouth as she watched the scene. She said she believed the rescued woman was her neighbor.
Over the course of the day, several more bodies were removed from the rubble, the death toll steadily rising.
As dusk set on the ruins of the building once again, firefighters and other responders kept digging — holding out hope some survivors might remain.