Mystery illness strikes after meteorite hits Peruvian village
LIMA (AFP) - Villagers in southern Peru were struck by a mysterious illness after a meteorite made a fiery crash to Earth in their area, regional authorities said Monday.Now according to reports the meteorite had a green tail as it came in. This would indicate a nickel-iron meteorite. Any gases were probably the result of a big chunk of very hot metal vaporizing organics in the soil. Not much of a plot for a movie.
Around midday Saturday, villagers were startled by an explosion and a fireball that many were convinced was an airplane crashing near their remote village, located in the high Andes department of Puno in the Desaguadero region, near the border with Bolivia.
Residents complained of headaches and vomiting brought on by a "strange odor," local health department official Jorge Lopez told Peruvian radio RPP.
Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being hospitalized, Lopez said.
Rescue teams and experts were dispatched to the scene, where the meteorite left a 100-foot-wide (30-meter-wide) and 20-foot-deep (six-meter-deep) crater, said local official Marco Limache.
"Boiling water started coming out of the crater and particles of rock and cinders were found nearby. Residents are very concerned," he said.