Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Scores ill in Peru 'meteor crash'

Some 600 people in Peru have required treatment after an object from space - said to be a meteorite - plummeted to Earth in a remote area, officials say.

They say the object left a deep crater after crashing down over the weekend near the town of Carancas in the Andes.

People who have visited scene have been complaining of headaches, vomiting and nausea after inhaling gases.

A team of scientists is on its way to the site to collect samples and verify whether it was indeed a meteorite.


"It [the object] is buried in the earth," local resident Heber Mamani told the BBC.

"That is why we are asking for an analysis because we are worried for our people. They are afraid. A bull is dead and some other animals are already sick," he said.

The incident began on Saturday night, when people near Carancas in the Puno region, some 1,300km (800 miles) south of Lima, reported seeing a fireball in the sky coming towards them.

The object then hit the ground, leaving a 30m (98ft) wide and 6m (20ft) deep crater.

The crater spewed what officials described as fetid, noxious gases.

The gases are believed to have affected the health of about 600 people who visited the site.

Most of the victims have been complaining of headaches, vomiting and nausea.

Honorio Campoblanco, one of Peru's leading geologists, called on the authorities to stop people going near the crash site.

But he discarded the possibility that the symptoms would have been caused by any form of radiation.

Hhhhmmmm, maybe it's time to start reading this again...?

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