Meteorite Crash Causes Injuries in Russia; Could It Happen in U.S.? (With Video)
It's not known whether it's connected with the asteroid that is to pass Earth on Friday.
About 400 people sought medical help on Friday in Chelyabinsk, Russia, when a meteorite entered the atmosphere, sending fireballs that also caused damage on the ground.
Reuters reported that residents on their way to work heard what sounded like an explosion, saw a bright light and then felt a shockwave. Car alarms went off, windows shattered and mobile phones worked only intermittently. The city is about 950 miles east of Moscow.
"I was driving to work, it was quite dark, but it suddenly became as bright as if it was day," said one resident.
It's not known whether the meteorite is connected to the asteroid that is scheduled to pass by Earth (at a distance of 17,100 miles) on Friday afternoon, about 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Such incidents are rare, Reuters reported. A meteorite is thought to have devastated an area of more than 1,250 miles in Siberia in 1908.
The Emergencies Ministry described Friday's events as a "meteor shower in the form of fireballs" and said background radiation levels were normal. Residents were urged not to panic.
Chelyabinsk authorities urged people to stay indoors unless they needed to pick up children from schools. They said a blast had been heard at an altitude of 32,800 feet, apparently when the meteorite entered Earth's atmosphere.
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