Meteorite Crash in Russia Sparks UFO Fears, Witnesses Report on Twitter [PHOTO]
By Arlene Paredes | February 15, 2013 5:33 PM EST
A meteorite has reportedly crashed Friday into the Earth's atmosphere above central Russia. International news agencies have received reports of "windows crashing" and "injuries." Meanwhile, UFO fears reportedly sparked panic in the affected region, as witnesses reported their ordeal on Twitter.
UPDATE: CNN reported from Russia that 1,000 people have been injured in the meteor shower that lasted merely a couple of seconds. There were no serious injuries, but adults and schoolchildren suffered wounds caused by shattered windows.
It is not clear whether the meteorite is connected to near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14, which is expected to make its closest approach to Earth on Feb. 15.
"A meteorite exploded above the Chelyabinsk region (of the Urals). The shock wave blew out windows in several places," a Russian emergencies ministry spokesman told the Interfax news agency Friday.
"The meteorite was intercepted by an air defense unit at the Urzhumka settlement near Chelyabinsk," TV-Novosti reported via RT.com, noting the source of information were unconfirmed reports.
Twitter, the social microblogging site where users typically deliver just-happened news, got wind of the supposed meteorite crash.
"My windows were not smashed, but I first thought that my house is being dismantled, then I thought it was a UFO, and my eventual thought was an earthquake," incident witness Bukreeva Olga wrote on Twitter.
"This explosion, my ears popped, windows were smashed... phone doesn't work," Evgeniya Gabun wrote on Twitter.
A witness from Chelyabinsk spoke to Reuters and reported hearing a huge blast early in the morning. According to the news agency's source, he felt a shockwave in a 19-storey building in the town center.
Scientists are expected to clarify whether the incident is connected to near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14. Experts will also be consulted to quash UFO fears sparked by the reported crash.
"Preliminary indications are that it was a meteorite rain," an emergency official was quoted by RIA-Novosti. "We have information about a blast at 10,000-meter (32,800-foot) altitude. It is being verified." Reuters' early report indicated "no one was hurt" in the meteor shower.
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