A 10-ton meteor fell across the sky in Russia early Friday morning, a ball of fire hurtling toward the earth. The dark morning sky lit up brightly as it passed, eventually exploding into fragments that crashed into the ground.
It was about 9:20 a.m. local time, just after the sun had risen. A thick white trail of smoke streamed after the meteor, looking for the world like the trail behind a jet. Amateur videographers captured the moment all across Russia.
“There was panic. People had no idea what was happening,” said one resident of Chelyabinsk, Sergey Hametov, according to the Washington Post. “We saw a big burst of light, then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud, thundering sound.”
Another resident, Marat Lobovsky, was among the injured. “I went to see what that flash in the sky was about,” he said. “And then the window glass shattered, bouncing back on me. My beard was cut open, but not deep. They patched me up. It’s OK now.”
But not all were so lucky as Lobovsky. It’s been reported that over 1,100 people total were injured from the shock wave, most of them from flying glass. Forty-eight of those are reported to have been hospitalized, and there have not been any reported deaths thus far.
A large fragment of the meteor came down in Chebarkul Lake, which is located in the Chelyabinsk region. The population of Chebarkul is about 46,000, and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said he thanked God that the large fragment didn’t land in a more populous area, which would have wrought much more serious destruction.