Source: Xinhua | 2013-2-16 | ONLINE EDITION
A meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk yesterday. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia's Ural Mountains, causing sharp explosions and injuring about 1,000 people, including many hurt by broken glass. It was the largest known human toll from a space rock, experts say.
A Russian health official says nearly 1,200 people have sought help for injuries caused by a meteor that exploded in the sky.
The meteor was estimated to be about 10 tons. It entered the Earth's atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 54, 000 kilometres per hour and shattered about 30-50 kilometres above the ground, according to the Russian Academy of Sciences.
It released energy of several kilotons above the Chelyabinsk region in central Russia. The city administration said most were injured by shards of glass. It was not immediately clear if any people were struck by meteor fragments.
City officials said 3,000 buildings in the city were damaged by the shock wave, including a zinc factory where part of the roof collapsed. A representative of Russia's emergency response body said that 20, 000 personnel had been switched to a state of "high readiness" and that essential services were functioning.
Vladimir Stepanov, Emercom Representative, said, "All emergency forces and facilities were switched to high readiness mode. That's over 20 thousand people, who started an investigation of the territory, to review the situation. As of 10:30 on Friday, a result of the study revealed that background radiation in the territory was normal. The systems and structures in energy, communications, transport and life maintenance sectors are functioning."