Breaking News: Meteor
Hits Russia Hard
The Russian Urals region has been stricken by a sudden cosmic attack. Unidentified flying objects exploded over several major cities, including Chelyabinsk, where the blast waves blew out windows and disrupted mobile connections.
The Emergency Ministry said the incident was caused by a shower of meteorite debris. Unconfirmed reports suggested that a meteorite was shot down by Russian air defenses. Multiple dashboard videos appeared online, showing huge fireballs flying over buildings and exploding with a strong blast. A local zinc factory was the worst-hit, with some of its walls collapsed.
Fireball explosion wreaks havoc across region.
9:36 GMT: There is a high chance that another meteorite could enter the Earth’s atmosphere in the next few hours, Sergey Smirnov from Pulkovo Observatory told Vesti news channel.
9:31 GMT: All universities, schools and kindergartens in Chelyabinsk have been closed for two days.
9:14 GMT: Sixteen people were hospitalized after meteorite debris hit the Russian Urals.
A man identifying himself as Viktor poses for a photograph after receiving treatment for injuries sustained from a shock wave that followed after a falling object was sighted in the sky in the Urals region, at an emergency room in a hospital in Chelyabinsk February 15, 2013.(Reuters / Andrei Kuzmin)
9:07 GMT: “The object could be about a meter in diameter and weigh a few tons,” Valeriy Shuvalov of the Institute of Geosphere Dynamics told RIA-Novosti. “As it entered the atmosphere, it broke into a cloud of pieces that flew on, creating a blast wave and emitting light. That’s where the flashes came from, as well as broken windows. Most of the object’s material evaporated, the remaining pieces slowed down and fell. It was most likely of iron nature as it penetrated so far through the atmosphere. However, we still don’t have the exact data on the debris.”
8:56 GMT: The Chelyabinsk regional governor reported that an emergency team discovered that a meteorite fell into a lake near the town of Chebarkul.
8:49 GMT: The number of people requesting medical assistance has risen to 500.
Photo from inside of Chelyabinsk Medical Academy. Photo from znak.com
8:30 GMT: Residents of Chelyabinsk buy out plastic wrap to screen the windows blown off by the meteor shower blast wave, as temperatures are expected to fall to -14°C at night.
8:20 GMT: More than 400 people have requested medical attention for minor injuries after a meteor shower hit the Russian Urals region. The number of injured may change, police said.
Damaged factory in Chelyabinsk. Photo from znak.com
8:10 GMT: Oleg Malkov, an aerospace scientist at Moscow State University, told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper that the meteorite went undetected by space scanners, likely because it was coming from the direction of the Sun. “We can only register stones coming from the direction of the night sky,” he explained. Malkov confirmed that the meteor shower in the Urals was not connected to the 2012DA14 asteroid that will approach Earth in a few hours.
8:03 GMT:Up to 250 injured, 3 in critical condition after meteorite hits
7:46 GMT: Ekaterinburg’s observatory has officially deemed the incident a fireball meteor shower. No evacuations were called for, and radiation levels were determined to be normal.
7:30 GMT: The number of people seeking medical attention has risen to 150.
Broken windows and debris are seen inside a sports hall following sightings of a falling object in the sky in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk February 15, 2013.(Reuters / OOO Spetszakaz)
Photo from znak.com
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