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Meteor Causes Panic In New Zealand

File photo: A meteor travels through Earth's atmosphere.
by Staff Writers
Wellington (AFP) Sep 12, 2006
A meteor streaked across a large swathe of New Zealand's South Island Tuesday, creating a sonic boom which sent people running from their workplaces and homes, witnesses said. The loud boom was heard over northern and central parts of the South Island shaking buildings and rattling windows, reports said. Kevin Graham was working in his garage workshop southwest of the city of Christchurch, when he heard the boom.

He spoke to his wife in Christchurch, who had run outside because she thought the building she was in was going to collapse.

"I ran outside because I thought my place was going to collapse as well," he said.

Matthew Miller, who was working outdoors at Ashburton, south of Christchurch, said he saw a fireball streak across the sky, although he did not hear the sonic boom reported by witnesses in areas further north.

"There was this really bright comet shooting across the sky," Miller told state radio. "I saw it for about a second, it was travelling so fast and covered so much ground."

The resident superintendent of Canterbury University's Mount John Observatory, Alan Gilmour, said meteors were reported every few years.

"All the reports suggest it was a pretty standard meteor but large and low," he told state radio, adding it most likely broke up in the atmosphere.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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