15 Feb 2013

Hundreds injured after meteor crashes in Russia

10:51 pm on 15 February 2013

A meteor crashing in the Urals of central Russia has reportedly injured at least 400 people, as the shockwave blew out windows and rocked buildings.

Most of those hurt suffered minor cuts and bruises but some received head injuries on Friday, Russian media report.

A fireball was seen streaking through the sky above the city of Yekaterinburg, followed by loud bangs. Much of the impact was felt in another city, Chelyabinsk, some 200km to the south, the BBC reports.

Officials say a large meteor partially burned up in the lower atmosphere, resulting in fragments falling earthwards.

Thousands of rescue workers have been sent to the area to provide help to the injured, the emergencies ministry said.

The Chelyabinsk region, about 1500km east of Moscow, is home to many factories, a nuclear power plant and the Mayak atomic waste storage and treatment centre.

A witness told Reuters shockwaves had been felt in a 19-storey building in the city centre. A roof at a zinc factory in Chelyabinsk also collapsed; however, it appears nobody was hurt.

Debris also reportedly fell on the west Siberian region of Tyumen.