A meteor streaked through the skies above Russia’s Urals region Friday morning before exploding with a flash and boom that shattered glass in buildings and left about 1,000 people hurt, authorities said.
Described by NASA as a “tiny asteroid,” the meteor’s explosion created a blast in central Russia equivalent to 300,000 tons of TNT, the space agency’s officials said Friday, adding that the incident was a once-in-100-years event.
The injured included more than 200 children. Most of those hurt are in the Chelyabinsk region, though the vast majority of injuries are not thought to be serious.
About 3,000 buildings were damaged — mostly with broken glass — as a result of the shock waves caused by the blast, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency said.
Vladimir Stepanov, of the National Center for Emergency Situations at the Russian Interior Ministry, earlier told state media that hospitals, kindergartens and schools were among those affected.
About 20,000 emergency response workers were mobilized, RIA Novosti reported.
Amateur video footage showed a bright white streak moving rapidly across the sky, before exploding with an even brighter flash and a deafening bang.
The explosion occurred about 9:20 a.m. local time, as many people were out and about.
It was captured in vivid images by Russians, many of whom used dash cameras inside their vehicles.
Dash cameras are popular in Russia for several reasons including possible disputes over traffic accidents and the corrupt reputations of police in many areas. Drivers install the cameras for their own protection and to document incidents they could be caught in; on Friday, they were able to document a spectacular natural phenomenon.