Meteor causes explosions over Russia, injures hundreds - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Meteor causes explosions over Russia, injures hundreds

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Courtesy: AP/Sergey Hametov Courtesy: AP/Sergey Hametov

MOSCOW (AP) -- A meteor or meteorite that streaked across the sky above Russia's Ural Mountains caused sharp explosions and injured more than 400 people.

Fragments of the meteor fell in the Chelyabinsk region, breaking windows. Many of the injuries were from broken glass caused by the explosions. Interior Ministry spokesman Vadim Kolesnikov said more than 400 people sought medical treatment after the blasts, and at least three were hospitalized in serious condition.

"There was panic. People had no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people's houses to check if they were okay," said Sergey Hametov, a resident of Chelyabinsk, about 1500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Moscow, the biggest city in the affected region.

"We saw a big burst of light then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud thundering sound," he told The Associated Press by telephone.

Reports conflicted on what exactly happened. A spokeswoman for the Emergency Ministry, Irina Rossius, told The Associated Press that there was a meteor shower, but another ministry spokeswoman, Elena Smirnikh, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying it was a single meteorite.

Amateur video broadcast on Russian television showed an object speeding across the sky about 9:20 a.m. local time, leaving a thick white contrail and an intense flash.

Russian news reports noted that the meteor hit less than a day before the asteroid 2012 DA14 is to make the closest recorded pass of an asteroid -- about 17,150 miles. There was no immediate demonstrable connection.

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