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People heading to work in central Russia Friday morning were shocked by the sight of a meteorite hitting the region. Fragments of the meteorite hit the area, creating a boom that smashed windows, shook buildings and left over 500 people injured.
The meteorite hit the Chelyabinsk area in western Siberia, around 950 miles east of Moscow, notes Reuters. Residents describe seeing a bright flash in the sky on their way to work. Although there was panic, there were no fatalities. Most of those injured were hurt by broken glass.
“There was panic. People had no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people's houses to check if they were OK,” Sergey Hametov of Chelyabinsk told the Associated Press. “We saw a big burst of light then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud thundering sound.”
According to The New York Times, Russian Academy of Sciences said that the 10-ton meteor created a shock wave as it reached the atmosphere. It then exploded 20-30 miles above the surface.
“There have never been any cases of meteorites breaking up at such a low level over Russia before,” Yuri Burenko, the Emergencies Ministry’s head in Chelyabinsk, told Reuters.
This comes just hours before asteroid 2012 DA14 is set to pass the earth just 17,150 miles away. European Space Agency spokesman Bernhard Von Weyhein told the AP that the Russian meteorite is just a coincidence and not related.