MessageToEagle.com - A meteor streaking across the sky above Russia's Ural Mountains has caused sharp aerial explosions and
reportedly injured a few hundreds people, mostly those hurt by broken windows, officials say.
It has also sparked panic in three major cities.
Residents in the area reported shaking ground and car alarms going off as brightly burning rocks streaked across
the sky over the Ural Mountains. Witnesses said that houses shuddered, windows were blown out and cellphones
temporarily cut in the wake of the incident.
According to unconfirmed reports, the meteorite was intercepted by an air defense unit at the Urzhumka settlement
near Chelyabinsk. A missile salvo blew the meteorite to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometers, local newspaper
Znak reports quoting a source in the military.
Multiple dashboard videos appeared online, showing huge fireballs flying over buildings and exploding with a strong blast.
Also "Regnum news" agency quoted a military source who claimed that the vapor condensation trail of the meteorite speaks
to the fact that the meteorite was intercepted by air defenses.
Army units found three meteorite debris impact sites, two of which are in an area near Chebarkul Lake, west of
Chelyabinsk. The third site was found some 80 kilometers further to the northwest, near the town of Zlatoust.
Russian space agency Roskosmos in the Chelyabinsk region is a meteorite.
“According to preliminary estimates, this space object is of non-technogenic origin and qualifies as a meteorite.
It was moving at a low trajectory with a speed of about 30 km/s.”
As of 14:30 Moscow time, 514 people have sought medical attention in the disaster area, 112 of whom have been
hospitalized .Among the injured there are 84 children, Emergency ministry reported.
A fireball was seen streaking through the sky above the city of Yekaterinburg, followed by loud bangs.
"A meteorite disintegrated above the Ural Mountains in central Russia, partially burning up in the lower atmosphere,"
according to the local office of the national emergencies ministry.
Fragments of the object reached Earth, falling in sparsely populated areas in the Chelyabinsk region,
approximately 80km from the town of Satki.
Credits: Gregor Grimm
According to BBC, at least 100 people have been taken to the hospital for treatment for injuries from broken glass
caused by shock waves.
"We saw a big burst of light then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud thundering sound," Sergey Hametov,
a resident of Chelyabinsk resident told AP news agency by phone. "There was panic."
Meteorite crash in Russia
Officials say a large meteor partially burned up in the lower atmosphere, resulting in fragments falling earthwards.
Thousands of rescue workers have been dispatched to the area to provide help to the injured, the emergencies ministry said.
The Chelyabinsk region, about 1,500km (930 miles) east of Moscow, is home to many factories, a nuclear power plant
and the Mayak atomic waste storage and treatment centre.
Another witness in Chelyabinsk told Reuters shockwaves had been felt in a 19-storey building in the city centre.
and about 6,000sq ft of a roof at a zinc factory had collapsed, however, it appears nobody was hurt in that incident.
In Yekaterinburg, 36-year-old resident Viktor Prokofiev was driving to work when he witnessed the event.
"It was quite dark, but it suddenly became as bright as if it was day," he was quoted by Reuters as saying.
"I felt like I was blinded by headlights."
Local cleric, Igor Shestakov, head priest of the Holy Trinity Church in Chelyabinsk, said the explosion of the meteorite
was “how Lord visited us on the day of the Christ Presentation in the Temple.”
Schools were closed for the day across the region after the impact blew out windows of buildings and
temperatures had plunged in central Russia to -18 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Emergency Ministry reported that 20,000 rescue workers are operating in the region. Three aircraft were
deployed to survey the area and locate other possible impact locations.
Witnesses said the explosion was so loud that it seemed like an earthquake and thunder had struck at the same
time, and that there were huge trails of smoke across the sky. Others reported seeing burning objects fall to earth.