NASA: Meteorite didn’t kill man in India
(CNN) — Whatever is responsible for killing a man in India over the weekend is unlikely something from space, according to NASA.
Police recovered remains of an object that fell from the sky Saturday. They are being analyzed.
“Initial assessments, based on photos posted online, are not consistent with something from space. Small meteorites do not start fires or cause explosions when they hit the ground,” NASA said in a statement Wednesday.
“To form a crater the size of what has been posted online would have required a meteorite of at least several kilograms. While more details may be forthcoming from local scientists, this is unlikely something from space.”
If the object had been, or is, confirmed to be a meteorite — a fragment of a comet or asteroid that has fallen to Earth — the death would be the first fatality from a meteorite on record, it is believed.
P. K. Senthil Kumari, the police chief in Vellore district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, had told CNN that the object struck the grounds of an engineering school at about midday Saturday, making a loud noise and leaving an impact crater about 60 centimeters (2 feet) deep.
The resulting blast killed a 40-year-old named Kamaraj, who worked as a bus driver on the campus of the Bharathidasan Engineering College, the police chief said. Like many in the state, the victim only used one name.
Tamil Nadu’s state government released a statement on the incident Sunday, describing it as a meteorite strike and offering 100,000 rupees ($1471) in compensation to the victim’s family.
In 2013, a large meteor exploded over the Russian region of Chelyabinsk, producing a huge flash and shock wave, and showering the territory below with many small meteorites.
The incident left more than 1,000 people injured, but caused no fatalities.
CNN’s Roshni Majumdar, Suzanne Presto and Tim Hume contributed to this report.