What killed Jayalalithaa

Man allegedly fatally hit by meteorite in India

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Chennai / Copenhagen - A man is said to have been killed by a meteorite in India. Officials believe that a falling object that killed a bus driver in southern Tamil Nadu on Saturday was a meteorite. A researcher called for a detailed examination of the rock.

"A meteorite fell on a private engineering school (...) and killed a school bus driver," said state prime minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram on Sunday evening. P. P. Rajaguru, a research fellow at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore, said it was entirely possible. However, further studies are still necessary.

When the object crashed on Saturday, window panes were broken and a large crater formed. According to Rajaguru, it could have been space junk. However, should it turn out to be a meteorite, it would be the first ever documented death of this kind. In 2013, around 1,500 people were injured in a meteorite crash in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, mainly due to broken glass after the shock wave.

In Sylacauga, Alabama, a woman was hit by a meteorite in 1954 while she was lying on her sofa at home. A stone broke through the roof, bounced off a radio, and left her with a large hematoma on her hip. The only known case of a meteorite known to have died in which a larger living being is said to have died is the fall of the Valera meteorite in Venezuela in 1972. A cow is said to have been killed in the pasture. A dog is said to have been killed in the fall of the Martian meteorite Nakhla in Egypt in 1911. However, there is no evidence of this.

Meteorite over Copenhagen

On the other hand, parts of a meteorite fell over the weekend near the Danish capital Copenhagen. A family in Ejby near Glostrup discovered a piece of the celestial body - "about the size of a golf ball" - in front of their house on Sunday, said Johan Uldall Fynbo from the University of Copenhagen on Monday.

As far as northern Germany, people had observed a bright glow in the sky on Saturday evening. On the Danish island of Zealand, on which the capital is located, you could also hear a bang, said Uldall Fynbo: "It sounded like a thunderstorm."

According to the Danish news agency Ritzau, more parts of the meteorite appeared on Monday in a parking lot in Herlev, west of Copenhagen. Together they made about half a kilo, said Daniel Wielandt from the Geological Museum. (red, APA, February 8, 2016)