Local man from Chelyabinsk reacts to meteor strike

Andrey Stanovnov
Andrey Stanovnov

A man from the Russian town where 1,100 people were injured by a high-altitude meteor explosion is relieved that his family made it through the incident.

It was a meteoric wakeup call captured on dash cams across the southern Russia town of Chelyabinsk. Russians have a lot more dash cams than Americans do for insurance reasons, -- their images are surreal.

Chelyabinsk is Andrey Stanovnov's hometown and he's been working the phone, checking in on family and friends, including his sister.

"There's no reliable information. She doesn't believe any version of the truth," he said.

Chelyabinsk is an industrial city about the same size as New Orleans.  Andrey says it's surrounded by other off-limits cities where top secret work is done, and many believe that the meteor was a Chernobyl-type industrial disaster.

"They're still not sure it's a meteorite," he said.

News reports Friday evening indicated there were 1,100 injuries in Chelyabinsk, mostly due to windows shattered by a massive shock wave as the meteor exploded.  Fortunately there are no fatalities reported.

"It's crazy, weird, people were scared for at least 15 minutes," Stanovnov told us.  They didn't know what was going on -- there was a flash and a big sonic boom and they were scared, didn't know what to expect."

He says officials in his Russian hometown are still finding chunks of the meteor, and have roped off large areas for inspection.  "One of the chunks is about a half mile from where I used to live," he said.

Then there was Friday afternoon's threat of an asteroid, flying within 17,000 miles of earth.

Meteorologist Chris Franklin tracks meteors and asteroids, along with weather. "This is coming in between Earth and some of the satellites we use every day," he said, referring to Friday's asteroid.

The asteroid passed safely around 1:20 CDT Friday afternoon, unlike the meteor in Russia.

"Asteroids are more like a little planet.  They follow an orbit around the sun," Franklin said. "A meteor is a space rock, flying in different directions."

A meteor striking near your home or anywhere on Earth can make you think more about the fragility of life.

"It makes me think you have to be more aware, and cherish every moment," said Elizabeth Kraemer at City Park Friday, where many were enjoying a gorgeous day.

Chris Besh said, "Tomorrow we can be dead, but let's do something that's in my backyard, New Orleans."

Some, including Andrey Stanovnov, are more appreciative of our cosmic good fortune than others.