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End Times ? Large Meteorites Fall from space injuring 900 people in Russia !

More than 900 people have been injured after a meteor strike in central Russia, the country's interior ministry said.

Fragments of at least one meteorite - the weight of a double-decker bus - were seen falling from the sky in the Chelyabinsk region at around 9am local time, around 1,500km east of Moscow.

A regional governor said 950 people have been injured. Russia’s Ministry of Emergencies said at least 82 children were hurt and 34 adults and 12 children were being treated in hospital. Two people are in intensive care.

MeteoriteThe meteor lit up the sky

Many were hurt by flying glass as windows were blown in. Witnesses described feeling a pressure wave and hearing explosions overhead as the object hurtled to earth.

The Russian Academy of Sciences estimates the meteor weighed about 10 tonnes and entered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of at least 33,000mph - 15 times the speed of a rifle bullet - and shattered up to 32 miles above ground.

Meteors typically cause sizeable sonic booms when they enter the atmosphere because they are travelling much faster than the speed of sound.

RUSSIA Meteorite 2The meteorite weighed 10 tonnes

The defence ministry said it had identified a six metre crater near a lake in this region and has sent soldiers to the site of the impact.

The emergencies ministry said that 20,000 rescue workers had been dispatched to help the injured and locate those needing help.

Resident Anna Pinkus told Sky News she saw a bright light outside her window and then heard three explosions.

Meteor shower in RussiaMore than 500 people have been injured

"It was a very loud sound. After that our windows began to shatter and shiver so it was very terrifying. First we thought it was a plane crash."

Planetary scientist Professor Ian Crawford of Birbeck University said this was an unusual case as meteorite hits rarely cause any damage.

Man poses for a photograph after receiving treatment for injuries sustained from a shock wave that followed after object fell from the sky in the Urals region, in a hospital in ChelyabinskViktor was injured by a shock wave

"Several times a year meteorites are observed to fall on the earth's surface but damage to people or property is very unusual – there are only several recorded cases of buildings being hit by meteorites."

Describing the course of the meteorite he said, "I think it's very likely that it would have been a larger lump of rock that broke up in the earth's atmosphere – this is usually what happens.

"The rock comes in from space and hits the earth's atmosphere. That decelerates it and puts a lot of stress on it. Then it's likely to fragment into lots of pieces."

The local office of the National Emergencies Ministry said in a statement: "A meteorite disintegrated above the Urals (mountain range in central Russia), partially burning up in the lower atmosphere.

"Fragments of the meteorite reached Earth, falling in sparsely populated areas in the Chelyabinsk region."

Many drivers in Russia have video recorders fitted in their cars in case of accidents or disputes with traffic police. Footage from these uploaded to YouTube show the fireball crashing to the ground.

There were reports of traffic in the Urals city of Chelyabinsk grinding to a halt and people seeking shelter in buildings as the fireballs lit up the sky.                 

The emergencies ministry confirmed the mobile phone network was temporarily cut.

MeteoriteThe meteor hit Chelyabinsk

Schools have been closed for the day across the region after the impact blew out windows.

The Chelyabinsk region is Russia's industrial heartland, home to many factories and other huge facilities that include a nuclear power plant and the Mayak atomic waste storage and treatment centre.

A spokesman for Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy state corporation, said that its operations remained unaffected.

"All Rosatom enterprises located in the Urals region - including the Mayak complex - are working as normal," said a Rosatom spokesman.

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