Friday, February 15, 2013

Meteorite hits central Russia - injures 150 (Updated 1,000 injured)

While the Asteroid 2012-DA14 is to intrude inside earth's communication satellite orbit any time today, there are reports from Russia that a meteorite shot across the sky in central Russia early on Friday and sent fireballs crashing to Earth, smashing windows, setting off car alarms and injuring 150 people.

The meteorite trail (above) - scenes before and during meteorite explosion (below)

Residents heard what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright light and then felt a shock-wave as they went to work in Chelyabinsk, according to a Reuters correspondent in the industrial city 1,500 kilometres east of Moscow.

The meteorite then raced across the horizon, leaving a long trail of white smoke in its wake which could be seen as far as 200 kilometres away in Yekaterinburg. Car alarms went off, windows shattered and mobile phones worked only intermittently.

A local ministry official said the meteor shower may have been connected with an asteroid the size of an Olympic swimming pool that was due to pass Earth at a distance of 27,520 kilometres but this could not be confirmed.

“I was standing at a bus stop, seeing off my girlfriend,” said Andrei, a local resident who did not give his second name. “Then there was a flash, and I saw a trail of smoke across the sky and felt a shock-wave that smashed windows,” he added.

Read more about it at: Pakistan Today

Updated (Mail Online): The later reports quote injured to be around 1,000. Many building collapsed due to the shock wave that followed the meteorite explosion and the explosion light blinded everyone during day light.

A six metre wide hole was found in the ground close to Lake Chebarkul, said Russian military sources cited by RIA Novosti news agency. 

'The meteorite that passed over the Chelyabinsk region fell into a body of water 1km from the city of Chebarkul,' said a statement posted on the website of Chelyabinsk governor, Mikhail Yurevich.

Pictures show a streak of smoke followed by several bright blasts of flames and eyewitnesses spoke of several devastating explosions.

The Russian Academy of Sciences is estimating the meteor weighed about 10 tons. 

The academy said in a statement hours fall that the meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph) and shattered about 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) above ground.

View the video below:

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