MOSCOW — A meteor streaked over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, producing a blast that injured hundreds, caused minor damage to buildings and temporarily disrupted Internet communication, officials said.
Yelena Smirnykh, deputy information chief of the Emergency Situations Ministry said 474 people sought medical assistance after the explosion. “Five of them were hospitalized, most of the injuries being cuts by shattered window glass,” she said.
Roskosmos, the Russian space agency, said it had not launched any objects on Thursday or Friday, Smirnykh said. “At this point we are confident that we are dealing with a meteor rain resulting from the explosion of a large meteor causing flashes and sound shock waves in the Chelyabinsk region and observed in three other regions of Russia too.
“About 20,000 ministry personnel and 3,000 hardware units are now deployed in the area to assess the damage and look for traces and pieces of the meteor none of which had been found yet by Friday noon,” she said.
The meteor entered the atmosphere over the north of Kazakhstan and flew over part of Russia before exploding over Chelyabinsk, said Vladimir Stepanov, chief of the Emergency Situations Ministry’s crisis center.