MOSCOW, RUSSIA (NEWS1130) – People in central Russia thought they were under attack this morning as a 10-tonne meteor streaked over the Ural Mountains at 54,000 km/h and broke into fragments before showering down across an area well east of Moscow.
The explosions and the concussion from the sonic boom shattered thousands of windows across the region; nearly 1,000 people were hurt by flying and falling glass.
Michael Garnett is a hockey player from Saskatchewan who is currently a goalie on Chelyabinsk’s KHL team. He was literally shaken out of bed as the monster meteor passed overhead.
“I live on the 23rd floor of a 24-storey building. This is where I was this morning when I was rudely awakened by this meteor,” he told News1130 live on the overnight show.
“I was lying in my bed and all of a sudden I hear this loud bang and it shook me out of bed. I got up and I saw my lights swaying and my building was shaking; it was that powerful. At that point, I looked out the window to see what was going on and I saw this giant streak across the sky,” he added.
“It was absolutely incredible, very humbling. It was an incredible force I’d never felt before.”
Garnett says the city of 1 million seemed to take the brunt of the concussion.
The Russian Academy of Science estimates the hypersonic boom released several kilotonnes of energy as the meteor shattered 30 to 50 kilometres above the surface if the earth. The fragments came down in a sparsely populated area.
The Russian military says it found one crater measuring six meters across.
A handful of amateur videos broadcast on YouTube show an object speeding across the sky about 9:20 a.m. local time, leaving a thick white contrail and creating an intense flash.