Hundreds injured by meteor in Russia - latimes

A meteor hit the city of Chelyabinsk in the Russian Ural Mountains Friday morning injuring hundreds, causing minor damage to buildings and temporarily disrupting Internet communication, officials said.

Yelena Smirnykh, deputy information chief of the Emergency Situations Ministry said that 474 people sought medical assistance after the explosion. "Five of them were hospitalized, most of the injuries being cuts by shattered window glass," she said.

Roskosmos, the Russian Space Agency, said it had not launched any objects on Thursday or Friday, Smirnykh said. "At this point we are confident that we are dealing with a meteor rain resulting from the explosion of a large meteor causing flashes and sound shock waves in the Chelyabinsk region and observed in three other regions of Russia too."

"About 20,000 ministry personnel and 3,000 hardware units are now deployed in the area to assess the damage and look for traces and pieces of the meteor none of which had been found yet by Friday noon,” she said.

The meteor entered the atmosphere over the north of Kazakhstan and flew over part of Russia before exploding in Chelyabinsk, Russian Emergency Situations Ministry Crisis Center Chief Vladimir Stepanov said.

"We have deployed 28 stations in the area to monitor radiation levels which up to now remain normal," Stepanov said. He added that monitors did not have sufficient time to issue a warning before the meteor crashed.
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