Meteor Strikes Russia, Over 1,000 Believed Injured

The largest meteor in more than a century crashed in Western Siberia.
4:29 | 02/15/13

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Transcript for Meteor Strikes Russia, Over 1,000 Believed Injured
Let's get right to it. Eyes of the world today stunned by this image. Debris from a meteor racing toward earth, streaking across the sky. Crashing into the ground in the woods. The cloudy trail the meteor produced. And on impact, this, carving a little pool into a frozen lake. The biggest meteor in more than a century to hit the planet. 1,000 people were injured from shards of flying glass and debris. There was no warning. More on that from nasa in a moment. We begin with kirit radia in moscow. Reporter: It came out of nowhere. A bright speck in the sky, soon streaking across the horizon, followed by an almost apocalyptic scene. A blinding flash of light, and then all hell broke loose. dizzying explosions, shattering windows, knocking these office workers to the ground. These students were lucky, protected by curtains from the flying glass. And these men barely escaped the blast. in the streets -- pandemonium. Terrified residents thought the world was ending. "People started to panic. Somebody screamed, 'the end of the earth, he says. The chaos of the meteor captured on cell phones and the dashboard cameras of cars, so popular here in russia. The blast was so powerful, it knocked down a wall at this factory. In all, over 1200 people were injured, mostly from broken glass. 3,000 buildings damaged, over a million square feet of glass shattered. Many were injured after going to the window to check out the flash in the sky. The glass shatters and bounced back on me. My beard was cut over, this man says. The meteor was believed to be about 50 feet wide, weighing a whopping 7700 ton, about the same as the eiffel tower. It raced toward the earth at ov over 40,000 miles an hour. As it crashed into the atmosphere, it began to break into pieces, causing those booms and sending those powerful shockwaves towards the ground, rocking a zone hundreds of miles wide. The shockwaves causing all the damage. As for pieces of the meteor, one of the bigger chunks landed here, leaving a hole in this frozen lake. Tonight, 20,000 soldiers have been sent to help the residents struggling without window. Russian television coverage has been going wall to wall with what some said looked like a scene out of an action movie. David? This comes as last night here, we told you about the asteroid barreling to earth. That was something different. Today, the asteroid was streaming toward earth. As predicted, it missed us this afternoon by about 17,000 miles. Tonight, we wanted to bring in amy meinzer an astrophysicist. We saw the images, and wondered, could this happen here? It's possible this could happen again. This was the largest fireball we have seen in a long time, since about 1908. There could be others that happen that we just don't see, over the ocean, over some place not pop lated. All of the dots with space debris. 21,000 pieces orbiting the earth. That's a lot of stuff not too far away. That's right. There is a lot of space junk out there. We're working hard to track it. In most cases, the bits of space debris will fall down. They'll be burned up in the earth's atmosphere. Most of the time, they're completely harmless. Most of the time harmless. We knew the asteroid was barreling toward earth. You predicted it would miss us. Correct me if I'm wrong, there was no warning for the meteor in russia. What are we to think of that? The object in russia a day ago, that was about a third of the size of the asteroid that passed us by. It's pretty small as these things go. About 15 meters across. About the size of two parked vans end to because it was so small, it would have been very faint and hard to see from the ground. We know you all have your eyes trained 24 hours a day. Thank the team for us. Absolutely. Thank you for having me.

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