Around 100 People Injured as Meteorite Crashes in Russia’s Chelyabinsk [Video]

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.

Russia was hit by a meteor on Friday in the nation’s central Ural Mountains, injuring hundreds and causing damage to buildings in six cities, according to reports.

The fireball, travelling at a speed of 19 miles per second according to Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, had blazed across the horizon, leaving a long white trail in its wake which could be seen as far as 125 miles away, writes Reuters.

The crash -felt in Chelyabinsk, Tyumen and Sverdlovsk and elsewhere – resembled an earthquake, witnesses report.

Car alarms went off, windows broke and mobile phone networks were interrupted. The Interior Ministry said the meteor explosion had caused a sonic boom.

One of Rosatom’s largest nuclear fuel and radioactive waste processing plants, Mayak, is operating in the area that was hit by the meteorite.

“Unfortunately, the normal work of some industrial enterprises was disrupted, people have suffered as has social infrastructure – kindergartens, schools,” Putin told his Emergencies Minister Sergei Puchkov in televised comments.

According to the USA Today, dozens have been hospitalized but the majority of those wounded received treatment for minor cuts from broken glass after the falling debris caused explosions that broke windows and shook buildings.

“All hospitals are running at their full capacity,” the emergency spokesman reported.

Chelyabinsk city authorities urged people to stay indoors unless they needed to pick up their children from schools and kindergartens. They said what sounded like a blast had been heard at an altitude of 32,800 feet.

Army units found three meteorite debris impact sites, two of which are in an area near Chebarkul Lake, west of Chelyabinsk.

The third site was found some 80 kilometers further to the northwest, near the town of Zlatoust. One of the fragments that struck near Chebarkul left a crater six meters in diameter.

Service members from the tank brigade that found the crater have confirmed that background radiation levels at the site are normal, says RT news.

The Emergency Ministry reported that 20,000 rescue workers are operating in the region. Three aircraft were deployed to survey the area and locate other possible impact locations.

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.

Later Friday, an asteroid known as the 2012 DA14 will come within 17,100 miles of Earth at 2:24 p.m. ET, a record close-approach for an asteroid this size.

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.

RT quotes witnesses who say the blast and unusual spectacle overhead had some residents fearing a UFO.

“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,” Bukreeva Olga wrote on Twitter, according to the news site.

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