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An aerial meteorite explosion has wreaked havoc in Russia’s Urals. The blast caused widespread panic, damaged buildings, blew out thousands of windows and lead hundreds to seek medical attention for minor injuries.

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The incident was caused by a bolide, scientists said. Multiple dashboard videos appeared online, showing huge fireballs flying over buildings and exploding with a strong blast as the meteriote broke into pieces mid-air. A local zinc factory was the worst-hit, with some of its walls collapsed.

Meteorite hits Russian Urals: Fireball explosion wreaks havoc, over 900 injured (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

‘Shock and frustration’: Locals report on meteorite crash in Russian Urals (VIDEO)
18:40 GMT: The search for the meteorite parts at Chebarkul Lake and at other two locations has officially been stopped. The huge ice hole found at the lake on Friday “has formed because of a different reason,” the Vice-Governor of Chelyabinsk region Igor Murog told Interfax-Ural.
13:32 GMT: Officials will take out bank loans to pay for repairs to meteorite damage, Chelyabinsk regional Governor Mikhail Yurevich said. He also asked for at least 500 million rubles in repairs to be subsidized by the federal government.
­12:30 GMT: Chelyabinsk municipal medical services have released official figures on the number of injured: 1158 people applied for medical assistance, including 289 children. Fifty-two people were hospitalized, including 13 children. Several people with light injuries have been already released from hospitals.
­12:14 GMT: Repair work in Chelyabinsk will be completed in three days, Russian Emergency Minister Vladimir Puchkov said, adding that basic utilities such as power, transport and telephone lines are functioning normally. The Minister ordered that 122 buildings be inspected for damage. Some 24,000 people and 3,500 machines are engaged in the city recovery effort.
­12:10 GMT: Chelyabinsk Governor Mikhail Yurevich described February 15 as the city’s second birthday: “If the meteor, which exploded above us, was just a little bigger, it’s hard to imagine what could have happened to our towns and villages. The huge sum of 1 billion rubles needed to repair broken windows and damaged walls pales beside losses we could have had. The most important thing is that nobody died!”
­07:58 GMT: No meteorite fragments were found at the bottom of Chebarkul Lake, says the Emergencies Ministry. A lack of underwater visibility, as well as a thick – up to 1.5 meters – layer of ooze were cited as the main reasons for failure. Six divers spent three hours searching for solid objects in the mud but finally gave up. Water samples taken from the lake have also shown nothing unusual.
­06:46 GMT: About 200,000 square meters of window glass in Chelyabinsk were shattered by the meteorite explosion, Russia’s Emergency Ministry reports. The latest data reveals that 3,724 apartments, 671 educational institutions, 69 cultural facilities, 34 hospitals and clinics, 11 social facilities and 5 sport venues in the Chelyabinsk region were damaged by the impact wave following the explosion. The broken windows at all medical institutions and about a third of the other buildings have already been repaired. By Monday, all schools and kindergartens are expected to resume normal operations.
­05:59 GMT: Infrasound stations tracking nuclear tests worldwide recorded the meteorite explosion above the Chelyabinsk region. Eleven stations of the 45 belonging to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization determined that the incident in Russia took place at 03:22 GMT on Friday. The stations are located in 35 countries around the world.
05:26 GMT: Russia’s Emergency Ministry has finalized the number of people injured by the meteorite explosion: 1,145 have sought medical attention, 50 of whom remain in hospital. No deaths from the incident have been officially registered, the Ministry reports.
­04:55 GMT: The meteorite explosion above the Chelyabinsk region has damaged 100,000 households, with total damages exceeding 1 billion rubles (about $33 million), the regional governor announced. “That’s not much for such an accident,” Governor Mikhail Yurevich said, adding that up to 30 percent of the smashed windows have already been replaced, and promising to repair the rest within a week.
04:10 GMT: Six divers have started searching for meteorite fragments on the bottom of Chebarkul Lake near Chelyabinsk. The search will continue for about four hours; nothing has been found so far.
­03:19 GMT: Medics in the Chelyabinsk region report that 51 persons remain in hospital as a result of the meteorite explosion, 13 of whom are children. One woman with a severe spinal fracture has been taken to Moscow by a ‘flying hospital’ aircraft, sent to Chelyabinsk by the Emergency Ministry. Most of the injured will be discharged from hospital in a matter of days, but still there are people with serious wounds – some fingers and toes were reportedly amputated, while others suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Friday, February 15

23:14 GMT: NASA estimates that the asteroid blast over Chelyabinsk occurred at about 14-20 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, and that the energy released was equivalent to a 300-kiloton explosion, according to Bill Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environments Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
21:39 GMT: Meteorite fragments have damaged 2,962 buildings including 34 healthcare facilities, 11 social security institutions and 361 school and pre-school educational institutions, Russian Emergencies Ministry said.
20:49 GMT: A 52-year-old woman who suffered spinal fracture after meteorite fragments fell to earth in the Chelyabinsk region will be transported to Moscow. The Russian Emergencies Ministry’s plane will pick her up on Saturday, February 16.
­20:03 GMT: The damage from the meteor is estimated at more than 400 million rubles (more than $13 million), said the Minister of Emergency Situations of Russia Vladimir Puchkov. Earlier the damage was assessed at 1 billion rubles (more than $33 million).
­19:38 GMT: People in medical facilities mainly complain of cut wounds, according to the Minister of Health of the Chelyabinsk region Marina Moskvicheva. 43 people were hospitalized, including 13 children. Two adults are in a serious condition, according to the ministry’s press service. Most of the victims live in Chelyabinsk – 655 people, including 159 children. 130 victims , 30 of which are children, live in  the town of  Kopeisk.  As a result of the meteor shower 93 hospitals and 154 clinics were damaged, ITAR-TASS reports.
19:23 GMT: Video footage of a 6 meter hole from meteorite debris at lake Chebarkul in Chelyabinsk region is now available.

­19:18 GMT: Ten districts of Chelyabinsk region experienced devastation from the blast wave caused by the meteorite, reported the regional Ministry of Internal Affairs. The explosion damaged buildings in Chelyabinsk, Emanzhelinsk, Etkul, Kopeisk, Korkino, Chebarkul, Yuzhnouralsk, Zlatoust, Troitsk, Uvelsky and Krasnoarmeisky areas, as well as the village of Rose. The ministry added that there may be more areas affected, ITAR-TASS reports.
­18:48 GMT: This is the second time a meteor has fallen in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia.  In June 1949 a meteor called ‘Kunashak’ landed in the area. 20 pieces, with the total weight of 200 kg, were found. One of the segments of the meteor was said by locals to have fallen in Chebarkul lake, the same body of water hit by a piece of Friday’s fireball. However, ‘Kunashak’, or its debris, has never been found in the lake.
­17:50 GMT: The authorities of the Chelyabinsk region assessed the damage from the meteorite at 1 billion rubles, said Governor Mikhail Yurevich .
­17:49 GMT: The Emergency Ministry said that at least 300 homes will have to be glazed. ‘As a result of an emergency situation in a number of towns and cities of Chelyabinsk region there are isolated cases of damage to the upper floors windows in 297 buildings, including 6 hospitals and 16 schools and pre-schools’ the ministry’s spokesman said. In addition, the work of three gas distribution stations was interrupted disrupting the gas supply to over 2000 people. Presently the gas supply has been restored in full, according to the ministry.
17:34 GMT: 1200 people were injured in Chelyabinsk region as a result of the meteorite fall, Russian Interior Ministry spokesman said.
­16:35 GMT: The Emergency Ministry has since denied sending out SMS warnings about the meteor shower in the Chelyabinsk region. The ministry added that informing residents started after the incident and the spokesperson who spread the false information on the incident was fired.
16:19 GMT: The fireball that hit Russia’s Urals is the largest rock to strike the planet since 1908, Nature Magazine says. The blast was even more powerful than North Korea’s recent nuclear test, added the UK journal. Unlike the Russian Academy of Science, it estimated that the mass of the fireball was around 40 tons before it entered the atmosphere. Russian scientists put the mass at 10 tons.

picture via rt.com
article via rt.com

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