An 11 gram object, believed to be a meteorite, has killed a 40 year old bus driver in Tamil Nadu, India.
Two gardeners and a student were also injured by the impact, which created a 1.5 metre crater and shattered nearby windows at the Bharathidasan Engineering College.
Local authorities have concluded a meteorite is to blame, after the discovery of a “blue stone the shape of a diamond” alongside a lack of evidence of explosives. Further investigation is under way, as it could be debris from a rocket or space shuttle — among other objects. A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics is expected to visit and study the site in the next day.
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“A meteorite fell at a private engineering college… and claimed the life of a college bus driver,” Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister Ms Jayalalitha said in a statement of the death of the victim, Kamaraj.
Sujan Sengupta, an associate professor at the institute, told the Wall Street Journal that there was “extremely little possibility of a small meteorite falling to the ground” and harming anyone.
“If a bigger asteroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it will disintegrate and travel in different directions, and because most of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, it is most likely to fall into the ocean,” he added.
International Comet Quarterly reports that the last recorded human fatality caused by a meteorite was also in India, in in 1825.
In 2013 a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russia, resulting in over 1,000 injuries but no deaths.