Divers scour Russian lake after meteor strike injures 1,200
MOSCOW (AFP) - Divers scoured the bottom of a Russian lake on Saturday for fragments of a meteor that plunged to Earth in a blinding fireball whose shockwaves injured 1,200 people and damaged thousands of homes.
The 10-tonne meteor streaked across the sky in the Urals region on Friday morning just as the world braced for a close encounter with a large asteroid that left some Russian officials calling for the creation of a global system of space object defence.
The unpredicted meteor strike brought traffic to a halt in the industrial city of Chelyabinsk as residents poured out onto the streets to watch the light show before hovering for safety as a sonic boom shattered glass and set off car alarms. The shattered glass injured most of the people.
"We have a special team working... that is now assessing the seismic stability of buildings," Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov told residents as he inspected the damage in the central Russian city. "We will be especially careful about switching the gas back on."