Nearly 1,000 injured by blasts as meteor falls in Russia

MOSCOW (AP) -- A meteor streaked through the skies over Russia Friday morning with an explosion of white light and a deafening roar.

The number of injured is still rising.

According to a Russian health official, nearly 1,000 people have sought help for injuries, most of which are not considered serious.

Chelyabinsk health chief Marina Moskvicheva said Friday that 985 people have requested medical assistance.

But another state-news agency, Itar-Tass, reports almost three dozen people were hospitalized.

The shockwave was so intense it shattered the glass in hundreds of buildings.

The Russian Academy of Sciences said the meteor -- estimated to be about 10 tons -- entered the Earth's atmosphere going at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph).  It shattered about 30 to 50 kilometers (18 to 32 miles) above the ground, releasing several kilotons of energy above the Ural Mountains.

Engineer Bill Nye "The Science Guy" predicts this won't be the last time we hear about something like this.

"It's unusual, so far, but as the world becomes more populous, there will be more injuries like this," Nye said. "The most famous one is 1908 over Siberia, ah, not to single out that continent, but there was an air burst. This is where the meteor, the asteroid, the cometary material was coming into the Earth's atmosphere so fast that the Earth's atmosphere acts like concrete and the thing disintegrates in mid-air. So they're called air bursts and the pressure wave from that, the shock wave, knocked out windows and, I guess, hurt people, somehow and there were reports of debris, but then I also heard a report that it was just the pressure. So these things happen."

Scientists at Russia's National Space Agency believe one meteoroid entered the atmosphere, then burned and disintegrated into fragments.

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