Ham Radio Operator Picks Up Report Of Explosions and Mass Casualties With AM-Nuclear Disaster, Bjt

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ A ham radio operator apparently broadcasting from the area of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, reported explosions, fire, mass casualties and the evacuation of thousands late Tuesday night, according to a Dutch radio amateur who said he monitored the broadcast.

Amateur radio operator Annis Kofman said he monitored the ham transmission in which an English-speaking man with a heavy Russian accent said there were ''many hundreds dead and wounded.''

''I'm here, 20 miles from it, and in fact I don't know what to do,'' said the operator, according to Kofman.

Kofman who picked up the short-wave broadcast from 11 p.m.-11:10 p.m. local time while looking for news of the disaster from the Soviet Union.

''We heard heavy explosions ... you can't imagine what's happening here with all the death and fire,'' said the radio operator in an emotion-filled voice, according to Kofman.

The radio operator claimed ''there are not one, but two reactors (which have) melted down (and) exploded and are burning,'' according to the Dutch radio hobbyist, who gave a transcribed account of the transmission to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Official Soviet sources have so far admitted that two people died and 197 were wounded in the Chernobyl accident, and have refused further details.

U.S. intelligence sources in Washington originally said there had been a meltdown in one reactor at the Chernobyl complex, 60 miles north of the Ukrainian city of Kiev, but Wednesday said they believed a second reactor had already experienced, or was experiencing, a meltdown.

Kofman said the radio operator claimed the death toll could go much higher, and told of thousands of local residents being evacuated to areas away from Chernobyl.

''Thousands and thousands of people are moving, taking their children and cattle to the south,'' said the radio operator.

''I heard many dead can't be removed because of the radiation,'' Kofman quoted the radio operator as saying.

''I don't know if our leaders know what to do because this is a real disaster. Please tell the world to help us.''

Kofman, who monitors ham broadcasts as a hobby from his home in the coastal Dutch village of Bergen, said he did not hear the radio operator identify himself, but added it was ''beyond question for me'' that the broadcast came from the Soviet Union.

An employee of the Dutch Public Communications Authority PTT, Kofman does not have a license to transmit and could not question the radio operator, who was apparently speaking to another ham in Japan.