Divers scour Russian lake after meteor strike injures 1,200
MOSCOW (AFP) – Divers scoured the bottom of a Russian lake on Saturday for fragments of a meteorite that plunged to Earth in a blinding fireball whose shock-wave injured 1,200 people and damaged thousands of homes.
The 10-tonnes meteor streaked across the Urals region on Friday just as the world braced for a close encounter with a large asteroid that left some Russian officials calling for the creation of a global system of space object defence.
A circular hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake where a meteor reportedly struck the lake near Chelyabinsk, about 1,500 kilometres east of Moscow, Russia, February 15. PHOTOS: AP
A local resident repairs a window broken by a shockwave from a meteor explosion in Chelyabinsk
The unpredicted meteor strike ground traffic to a halt in the industrial city of Chelyabinsk as residents poured out on the streets to watch the light show before hovering for safety when a sonic boom rang out directly overhead.
Shattered glass caused most of the injuries. Doctors said some sustained more serious wounds from doors that were blasted off hinges and ceiling collapses. About 50 people were recovering in hospitals early Saturday.
Officials counted 2,962 buildings ranging from hospitals and schools to regular households suffering from shattered glass and cracked walls.
“We have a special team working… that is now assessing the seismic stability of buildings,” Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov told residents as he inspected the damage in the central Russian city. “We will be especially careful about switching the gas back on,” he said in televised remarks.