Witnesses reported a sudden change in atmospheric pressure upon the impact that made their ears pop. The space object hit the ground with a tremendous crash that resembled thunder and earthquake, damaging houses in Chelyabinsk and cutting off communications, witnesses say.
Residents of Emanzhilinsk, a town 50 kilometers away from Chelyabinsk, said they saw an object high in the sky that suddenly burst into flames, broke apart and fell to earth. Some people in Chelyabinsk said the air smelt like gunpowder.
About 150 people have sought medical help after a meteorite burst above Russia’s Urals region, strewing the area around Chelyabinsk with debris, an emergency agency’s source has said.
“According to preliminary data, about 150 people have requested medical help,” the source said.
He said no critical injuries or fatalities were reported. Some people were wounded by shattered glass when the blast smashed windows and rattled houses.
“All hospitals are running at their full capacity,” the emergency spokesman reported.
More than a hundred people have been injured across the Urals region when the meteorite struck in central Russia.
Russia’s state-run atomic agency, Rosatom, has been operating as usual, following a massive meteorite crash in the country’s Urals region, a Rosatom spokesman said Friday.
“All facilities are working as usual. They haven’t been damaged by the meteorite strike,” the source said.
One of Rosatom’s largest nuclear fuel and radioactive waste processing plants, Mayak, is operating in the area that was hit by the meteorite.
Some 20,000 rescuers have been on high alert after an alleged meteorite struck Russia’s Urals region on Friday.
Three aircrafts have been investigating the area from above, the local emergency agency reports. An emergency response center has been set up to monitor the situation on the ground.
Ministerial experts said they don’t expect any meteorite debris to hit the region. “Energy supply is stable, cell phone operators are running as usual. There’s been no rise in radiation levels. We don’t expect any more meteorite debris to come down,” an emergency agency’s report has aid.
A meteorite was observed in the sky over Russia's Urals region, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesperson Yelena Smirnykh told Interfax.
"What happened over the Urals region was not a meteor shower, as was reported earlier. It was a meteorite, which burned up as it passed through the lower layers of the Earth atmosphere. However, it triggered an impact wave, which smashed windows in several houses in the region," she said.
Four people were reportedly injured by falling glass, she said. Radiation levels remain normal in the area, the spokesperson said.
"There has been no increase in radiation levels. They remain normal. The meteorite did not effect them," Smirnykh said.
The accident did not cause any disruption to mobile network operations in the region.
Meteorite pieces are not expected to actually fall to the Earth. However, regional emergency services have been put on high alert, the spokesperson said.
Some people inside the High School No. 130 building in the Chelyabinsk region reportedly sustained minor injuries as several windows were smashed as a result of Friday's meteorite fall, an Interior Ministry spokesman told Interfax.
The meteorite fell in the Chelyabinsk region's Satka district, in an area located around 80 kilometers from the district's administrative center, the spokesman said.
"Windows were broken in many houses in Satka, as well as buildings in Chelyabinsk facing the crash site," he said.
A series of explosions in the skies of Russia’s Urals region, reportedly caused by a meteor shower, has sparked panic in three major cities. Witnesses said that houses shuddered, windows were blown out and cellphones stopped working.
Atmospheric phenomena have been registered in the cities of Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg and Tyumen.
In Chelyabinsk, witnesses said the explosion was so loud that it resembled an earthquake and thunder at the same time, and that there were huge trails of smoke across the sky. Others reported seeing burning objects fall to earth.
Office buildings in downtown Chelyabinsk are being evacuated. The regional Emergency Ministry said the phenomenon was a meteorite shower, but locals have speculated that it was a military fighter jet crash or a missile explosion.
“According to preliminary data, the flashes seen over the Urals were caused by [a] meteorite shower," the Emergency Ministry told Itar-Tass news agency.
Voice of Russia, RT, Interfax, RIA