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More than 100 injured by meteor in Russia

February 14, 2013|From Bloomberg

A meteor exploded in the skies above Russia’s Urals region, sending a shock wave that shattered windows, hurting about 100 people.

The meteor disintegrated above Chelyabinsk at about 7:25 a.m. Moscow time, the Emergencies Ministry’s division in the Urals district said today on its website. Burning streaks lit up the sky, caught by drivers on dashboard cameras and posted on YouTube.

“A serious meteor fell,” billionaire Sergey Galitskiy, chief executive officer of OAO Magnit, Russia’s biggest food retailer by value, said in a post on his Twitter Inc. account. “At our hypermarket in Emanzhelinsk, windows were blown out, the roof shook, there was a strong shock wave.”

More than 100 people have reported injuries, mostly from broken glass, Vadim Kolesnik, a ministry official, said by phone. None were serious or required hospitalization, according to the ministry.

Russia’s public health chief Gennady Onishchenko closed schools in the Chelyabinsk region, Interfax said. Radiation is within normal levels and power systems are working as usual, the Emergencies Ministry’s regional division said on its website.

As many as 20,000 emergency staff and three aircraft have been deployed in the Urals region, the ministry said.

OAO MegaFon said in a statement it was experiencing difficulties with wireless services in the Chelyabinsk region and is using backup roaming with other operators.

OAO Mobile TeleSystems’s equipment hasn’t been damaged and its network is operating, even after phone traffic in the Chelyabinsk region surged as much as 10-fold, MTS spokeswoman Valeria Kuzmenko said by phone today.

“No further pieces of the meteor are expected to fall,” according to the ministry’s statement.

Video: KTLA-TV Channel 5

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