A meteorite explosion in the stratosphere has caused up to 500 injuries, damaged buildings, disrupted internet and mobile services and caused widespread panic in Russia’s Urals region. The incident has been described as reminiscent of the devastating meteorite showers in the movie Armageddon.
Unconfirmed reports have suggested that the meteorite was intercepted by an air defence unit at the Urzhumka settlement near Chelyabinsk. It was then destroyed by a missile salvo which blew it to pieces at an altitude of 20 kilometres.
The impact wave caused by the explosion damaged several buildings and blew out thousands of windows. It was the broken glass from the windows that have caused most of the injuries. Up to 500 people have sought medical attention due to damage caused by the meteorite but none of these reported have been serious.
Witnesses have reported that the explosion was so loud that it seemed like an earthquake and thunder had struck at the same time, and that there were huge trails of smoke across the sky.
Videos and photos taken by the public have been appearing across social media sites including Twitter and Facebook and the news story is trending online.