Woman injured and brother and friend killed by WW1 bomb at post-wedding party

Lidiia Makarchu, 31, from Bracknell, Berkshire, had travelled to the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine for a belated honeymoon after marrying Norbert Varga, 43, near their home in the UK

Lidiia Makarchuk had travelled to the Ukrainian beauty spot after marrying Norbert Varga near their home in Bracknell, Berkshire

A woman has been injured and her brother and friend killed after a WW1 bomb exploded during a honeymoon celebration in Ukraine.

Lidiia Makarchu, 31, had travelled to the Carpathian Mountains for a belated honeymoon after marrying Norbert Varga, 43, near their home in Bracknell, Berkshire.

The party of 11 family and friends – including two children – was gathered around a bonfire in a forest clearing telling stories and drinking tea when the bomb detonated.

It is thought that the explosion was triggered by the fire that the group had lit at the end of a walk.

Mr Varga, a radio operator and keen photographer who has lived in Britain since 2018, had briefly left the bonfire to retrieve his camera when he heard the bomb go off.

Lidiia Makarchuk, 31, sustained shrapnel injuries to her left eye and across her face


PA Real Life)

“While I was packing my equipment the sound of an explosion and screams broke the silence. I ran to the bonfire as fast as I could, screaming Lidiia’s name,” he told the Daily Mail.

Miss Makarchu was badly injured, with shrapnel having ripped through her legs, hands, and left eye.

Her brother, Myroslav, 29, and another man died during the hour and a half it took medical personnel to get to the scene.

Miss Makarchu, a Ukraine-born accountant who moved to the UK in 2017, described the incident feeling “like someone had taken a rock and thrown it in my face.”

The party of family and friends was gathered around a bonfire in a forest clearing when the bomb detonated


PA Real Life)

“Then I had a whistling in my ears followed by a silence where I could hear only myself. I turned away and covered my face with my hands and started praying for myself. Then I realised it wasn’t just me. Everyone was moaning, everyone was in pain.”

She said she could hear the dying gasps of her brother as she lay on the ground, and said her one regret was “not calling out to him to tell him I loved him”.

The bomb is believed to have been planted during the Brusilov offensive in 1916, a bloody campaign waged by the Russians against Austria-Hungary.

Miss Makarchu remains at hospital but is now walking again. She will need to travel to Hungary for eye treatment, after which she will return to the UK.

Lidiia and her brother Myroslav hours before his death


PA Real Life)

Her family have been trying to raise funds for her medical bills, as she had no travel insurance while she was in Ukraine.

On her GoFundMe page, they wrote: “Lidiia has sustained serious injuries to her entire body that have been caused from the many shards of shrapnel that came from the explosion.

“She is thankfully conscious and is currently in hospital in Ukraine but she desperately needs, and will need: blood transfusions, life-saving surgery, physiotherapy and psychotherapy.

“Access to healthcare in Ukraine is very expensive and it is a very different system to the UK’s NHS; it is unclear at this stage how long Lidiia will need to be treated in Ukraine before she is allowed to return to the UK for further treatment.”

To donate to the fundraiser click here.

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