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Russia: Meteorite, Fireballs, Sonic Boom Injures 750+ Before Crashing Into Chelyabinsk Lake

On Friday, February 15, 2013 at 9:20 a.m., a massive explosion of fireballs and a sonic boom shockwave tore through the sky just east of Moscow near Chelyabinsk. The meteorite injured over 750 people, shattered windows, and caused significant property damage. Some NASA officials and Russian space officials believe the bolide may have been traveling with asteroid 2012 DA14 expected to close near earth's orbit at approximately 2:25 p.m.

Witnesses report the meteorite lit up the night sky over Chelyabinsk and could be viewed as far as 125 miles away as it blazed through the sky, leaving a white trail in its wake. The sonic blast resulting from the meteorite was heard at "an altitude of 10,000 meters." At last count, reports from the Russian Emergencies Ministry state that over 514 citizens were treated at local hospitals for injuries caused by the incident. A minimum of 112 people were admitted to hospitals with over 67 children reportedly hurt as a result of the blast.

Russian space officials have confirmed historic event not only rare because similar cases of meteorites reaching Russia have not happened since 1908. They confirmed the meteorite was moving at speeds as fast as 19 miles per second. They stressed the importance of not panicking to residents and urged them to stay indoors.

The Russian Academy of Sciences believes the 10 ton meteor was a bolide that exploded and evaporated 20-30 miles over the earth. A force of over 10,000 police officials have been deployed to retrieve fragments from the event that reached the ground.

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