Around 1,000 people have been injured after a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk in central Russia, according to local reports.
The regional governor says at least 950 people have been wounded, including more than 159 children. Of the injured people, he added, only two were said to be in a serious condition; most of the injuries were caused by shattering window panes.
Chelyabinsk city officials say the blast happened at an altitude of 10,000 metres with the meteor breaking apart and causing a shower as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere at around 9:20 in the morning local time.
Part of the meteor raced across the horizon, leaving a long trail of white smoke behind it which could be seen 200 kilometres away in Russia’s fourth-largest city, Yekaterinburg.
A number of buildings have been damaged in the industrial city of Chelyabinsk,1,500 kilometres east of Moscow.
The meteor explosion and shower set off car alarms, shattered windows and disrupted the mobile phone network.
Six hundred square metres of the roof of a zinc factory collapsed, according to the Interior Ministry.
City officials have urged people to stay indoors unless they need to pick their children up from schools and nurseries.