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Schoolboy survives direct hit by meteorite travelling at 30,000mph


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Schoolboy survives direct hit by meteorite travelling at 30,000mph


By Eddie Wrenn

Last updated at 9:08 AM on 12th June 2009




The odds of it happening are astronomical, but not impossible, as one schoolboy found out when he was struck by a passing meteorite.

The hot rock flew down from space at speeds of 30,000mph, and grazed past 14-year-old Gerrit Blank as he made his way to school.

The meteorite continued on before ending its billion-year intergalactic journey on the pavement, leaving a smoking foot-wide crater.

Gerrit was left with a three-inch long scar on his hand, making him one of only a handful of people to have been struck directly by a meteorite.


article-1192503-054F2E95000005DC-826_468x635.jpg Direct hit: Gerrit Blank, 14, was on his way to school when he was struck from the heavens by a 30,00mph meteorite (Picture: Markus Grenz/WAZ)


The student, from Essen, Germany, said: 'At first I just saw a large ball of light, and then I suddenly felt a pain in my hand.

'Then a split second after that there was an enormous bang like a crash of thunder.'


The rock would originally have been a lot larger, but would have burned up in the atmosphere as it fell to Earth. Most 'shooting stars' burn up before they hit the ground.


Experts are now examining the pea-sized meteorite to discover its origins. Most meteorites date back to the formation of the solar system 4.55billion years ago.



article-1192503-054F2E95000005DC-668_468x286.jpg The rock, the scar, and the crater: Gerrit was lucky to survive his close encounter (Picture: Markus Grenz/WAZ)



The odds of being hit by a meteorite are said to be one in a 100million. There is not a confirmed fatality from a direct hit before, although there are many reported cases of animals being killed by an impact.

One woman in Alabama, America, was injured as she lay asleep in bed in 1954. The 4kg meteorite struck her after smashing through her roof.

A monk is said to have been killed by a meteorite in Milan in 1650 and two sailors in Sweden were reportedly killed while sailing in 1674.

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