RUSSIA/CHILE - The most horrible thing about fighting a blaze is realizing the fact that you are sometimes unable to save people’s lives, Russian pilot Vladislav Podobny told Sputnik Mundo; his Il-76 aircraft is being used to help extinguish forest fires in Chile.
Russian pilot Vladislav Podobny’s Il-76 plane is affectionately called Luchin by locals in Chile, where he’s spending the South American summer putting out devastating wildfires and becoming a folk hero in the process. In an interview with Sputnik Mundo, he shared his thoughts about what it was like to be part of the international effort.
Podobny is deputy commander of an IL-76 aircraft sent by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry to assist the country in coping with the disaster.
A Chilean company has already released a detergent called Super Luchin, named in honor of Russia’s IL-76 that took part in extinguishing forest fires in Chile.
In an interview with Sputnik Mundo, Podobny said that he is already aware of a whole array of memes which emerged in the Internet to give kudos to Russia’s Luchin.
Touching upon the wildfires, he said that the situation is already under control and that according to his plan, they are due to depart from Chile on February 25 at 20.00 local time.
He specifically praised ordinary Chileans’ positive and good-natured attitude towards the Russian crew.
He added that last week, they were invited to the Chilean Foreign Ministry, where they were presented with valuable gifts.
When asked about what the most frightful thing during a forest fire is, Podobny admitted that it depressed him to know that he is not always able to save people in need of help.
n conclusion, he lauded Chile, saying it was “a beautiful country”, wishing the Chilean people and the country’s government prosperity and patience in order to tackle forest fires “if they occur once again, God forbid.”