Large meteor fragments fell from the Russian sky east of Moscow on Friday, causing sharp explosions and reports of injuries and damage.
A spokeswoman for Russia’s Emergency Ministry, Irina Rossius, told The Associated Press that there was a meteor shower, but another ministry spokeswoman, Elena Smirnikh, told the Interfax news agency it was a single meteorite.
Some footage taken by residents shows a bright tail arching across the sky.
Other videos capture a loud blast as the meteor fragments made impact.The ministry told AP that some fragments fell near the town of Satka, about 200 kilometers from the regional capital city of Chelyabinsk.The ministry said it was investigating reports by citizens of injuries and damage.Israeli website Ynetnews reported that 102 people had called for medical assistance following the incident, mostly for treatment of injuries from glass broken by the explosions.About 600 square meters of a roof at a zinc factory also collapsed, according to Ynetnews, and witnesses recanted hearing loud explosions which led to panic among residents in the lightly-populated region.A Reuters witness in Chelyabinsk reported hearing a huge blast early in the morning and feeling a shockwave in a 19-storey building in the town centre.The sounds of car alarms and breaking windows could be heard in the area, the witness said, and mobile phones were working intermittently."Preliminary indications are that it was a meteorite rain," an emergency official told RIA-Novosti. "We have information about a blast at 10,000-meter (32,800-foot) altitude. It is being verified."The trace from a falling object could be seen in Yekaterinburg, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) southeast of Chelyabinsk, another Reuters witness said.