Anna Maiboroda feared the worst when a helicopter that transported to Minister of the Interior of Ukraine it crashed near his daughter Vika’s nursery, setting the building on fire with the girl inside.
The young mother ran towards the burning nursery, but could not see her daughter.
“I started yelling ‘Where are the kids?’ I heard that the children were somewhere in cars, in the entrances of the nearby apartment blocks. Some children were in ambulances, ”he said Thursday, a day after the accident in the city of Brovary, outside kyiv.
“I started yelling my daughter’s last name. After a while I heard the teacher shout: ‘Anna! Anna! Your Vika is with us.’”
Maiboroda’s daughter escaped without serious injury. Others were not so lucky.
Between the 14 people dead there was a child, and 11 others were injured, according to authorities. Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi and two of his aides were also among the dead.
A police spokesman said on Thursday that the minister had flown to a location close to the front line of the war against Russia.
He added that it was too soon to determine the cause of the accident, but the Ukrainian authorities have not blamed Russia.
Orthodox Christian priests led a vigil in Brovary on Thursday, chanting dirges and burning incense as residents laid flowers and stuffed animals at a makeshift memorial near the kindergarten.
The Ukrainian flag flew at half mast above a sign on a nearby main street that read: “I love Brovary.”
“The hardest thing was listening to the words of my three-year-old daughter when she came and said: ‘They have burned my house. Today they burned my nursery and they wanted to burn me.’ This is a cursed war,” Maiboroda said.
“I was afraid to come here. He was afraid of hearing horrible news. I thought my daughter was dead.”
Mykola Antonov was inside the building with his 5-year-old son when suddenly everything was on fire, he said.
“I got up, I started to put out the fire from my clothes, which were burning, and to look for my son. He managed to get to the gate, nothing happened to him, thank God, and we began to take the children out, ”Antonov said.
“The teachers were great. They reacted quickly and we managed to get all the children out into the yard. We went out and it was a shock, an apocalypse, everything was on fire.
Sixteen people, including six children, remained hospitalized on Thursday, according to the regional governor.
Sofia Slisarenko was one of the lucky ones. She hadn’t gone to day care on Wednesday because she was sick, said her mother, Olena Slisarenko.
“I came here because it’s our nursery, and our friends are here (…) But thank God, Sofiia got sick, so we weren’t there,” said the mother at the vigil, with her daughter by her side.
“Our friends (…) our friends died unfortunately. And our neighbors (…) Some friends are hospitalized in critical condition, so we had to come here”.