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article imageMeteor injures hundreds in Russia, Update 1200 injured

By Eileen Kersey     Feb 15, 2013 in World
Chelyabinsk - A meteor, travelling at a speed of 30 km (19 miles) per second, has crashed into the Ural mountain region of Russia, injuring at least 500 people. A fireball was seen streaking through the sky Friday before the meteor hit land.
Early reports indicate that the meteor which landed in a lake near Chebarkul, Russia damaged buildings in the area. Windows were blown out and buildings rocked resulting in injuries.The majority of injuries sustained were minor. Cuts and bruises are reported but some people sustained head injuries. The number of injured according to the BBC is least 500 people.
Website Space carries images and more details.
Reuters reports the event "is initially being attributed to a meteor explosion in the atmosphere by authorities". The explosion caused a sonic boom.
The latest reports are that the meteor exploded over central Russia. Fireballs crashed to earth causing extensive damage.
It was early Friday and still dark when the event happened. One witness, Viktor Prokofiev, 36, a resident of Yekaterinburg in the Urals Mountains, told Reuters "I was driving to work, it was quite dark, but it suddenly became as bright as if it was day. I felt like I was blinded by headlights."
No fatalities have been reported but the Russian leaders were kept informed of the situation.
There is speculation that the meteor event in Russia could be linked to another "celestial event" scheduled for Friday. Later today an asteroid the size of an Olympic swimming pool is due to pass Earth at a distance of 27,520 km (17,100 miles). Scientists have said that it will be a "near miss".
Scientists claim that meteor hits are rare. Facts and figures about meteors can be found here.
Digital journal will update this report when further information is available.
1:35pm GMT update.
The latest news is that an estimated 950 people were injured. Two are in hospital in a critical condition. Most of the injuries were due to the sonic boom. This was caused by the speed that the meteor entered our atmosphere. Conspiracy theorists are claiming that the authorities attempted to shoot down the meteor. There is also speculation that it was not a celestial event.
11am GMT Saturday
Russia Today reports the number of injured has been revised up to 1,200. Of these 110 were hospitalised. The army is now in the area assisting with the clean-up operation and recovering meteorite debris.
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