Meteorite Falls in Russian Urals
KREX News Room
Chelyabinsk, Russia More than 1,000 people were injured when a meteorite shot across the sky in central Russia on Friday sending fireballs crashing to Earth, smashing windows and setting off car alarms.
Amateur videos showed a meteorite crossing the sky in early morning hours in different cities several hundred kilometers apart.
The meteorite raced across the horizon, leaving a long white trail in its wake which could be seen as far as 125 miles away.
In Yekaterinburg. Car alarms went off, windows shattered and mobile phones worked only intermittently.
Chelyabinsk city authorities said about 400 people sought medical help, mainly for light injuries caused by flying glass.
No fatalities were reported but President Vladimir Putin, who was due to host Finance Ministry officials from the Group of 20 nations in Moscow, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev were informed.
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 km (17,100 miles) but this could not be confirmed.
Chelyabinsk city authorities urged people to stay indoors unless they needed to pick up their children from schools and kindergartens. They said a blast had been heard at an altitude of 10,000 meters (32,800 feet), apparently signaling it occurred when the meteorite entered Earth's atmosphere.
"Chelyabinsk was in the meteor shower zone. I think experts will provide more specific data later. I would like to address people living in our city to ask them to remain calm," Chelyabinsk mayor Sergei Davydov said.
Such incidents are rare. A meteorite is thought to have devastated an area of more than 2,000 sq km (1,250 miles) in Siberia in 1908, smashing windows as far as 200 km (125 miles) from the point of impact.
The U.S. space agency NASA has said an asteroid known as 2012 DA14, about 46 meters in diameter, would have an encounter with Earth closer than any asteroid since scientists began routinely monitoring them about 15 years ago.
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