Moscow: A meteor shower has rained down on central Russia, sowing panic as hurtling space debris exploded in the air, blew out windows and injured dozens of people.
The Russsian Emergencies Ministry reported a meteoroid exploded in the skies above the
Urals region, sending a shock wave that shattered windows.
"A meteorite (sic) disintegrated above the Urals, partially burning up in the lower atmosphere," the local office of the national emergencies ministry said in a statement.
The meteor looks like a bright star in the sky.
Burning streaks lit up the sky, caught by drivers on dashboard cameras and posted on YouTube.
‘‘A serious meteor fell,’’ billionaire Sergey Galitskiy, chief executive officer of OAO Magnit, Russia’s biggest food retailer, said in a post on his Twitter account. ‘‘At our hypermarket in Emanzhelinsk, windows were blown out, the roof shook, there was a strong shock wave.’’
The meteor heads towards the ground. Photo: Screen grab
More than 100 people have reported injuries, mostly from broken glass, Vadim Kolesnik, a ministry official, said by phone.
None were serious or required hospitalisation, according to the ministry. Russia’s public health chief Gennady Onishchenko closed schools in the Chelyabinsk region, Interfax said.
As many as 20,000 emergency staff and three aircraft have been deployed in the Urals region, the ministry said.
Flames shoot across the sky after at least one meteor hit the ground. Photo: Screen grab
‘‘No further pieces of the meteor are expected to fall,’’ according to the ministry’s statement.
Reuters reported that a powerful blast had rocked the Urals region with bright objects falling from the sky.
"It was definitely not a plane," an emergency official said.