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Mystery illness Linked To Meteorite Explosion
by Dirk Vander Ploeg

Posted:
14:14 September 18, 2007

Mystery illness strikes after meteorite hits Peruvian village
File photo shows the green streak of a meteor cutting across the sky. Source.
On Saturday, September 15, 2007, around noon local time, residents of a remote southern Peruvian village were shocked by a large explosion and fireball.

Authorities reported on Monday that a mysterious illness had broken out in the immediate area where villagers were convinced an airplane had crashed.

The village is located high in the Andes in the Desaguadero region near the border with Bolivia. Local citizens reported symptoms that included headaches and vomiting. The villagers complained also of smelling a "strange odor," according to local health department official Jorge Lopez.

The photo above shows an orange streak that apparently exploded and crashed in the area. When villagers went out to find what they believed to be a downed aircraft they discovered instead a large hole that appeared to be scorched and the source of the odd smell. The meteorite's crater was estimated to be 10 meters wide and 5 meters deep.

No evidence of an aircraft has been found.

Villagers near the impact site became ill and as many as, "500 families close by and they have had symptoms of nausea, vomiting, digestive problems and general sickness," said Lopez. Local health department officials, as well as seven police officers required oxygen and dehydration after investigating the crater.

Local farmers are concerned that debris from the meteorite, including chunks of lead and silver, could possibly contaminate their land and damage future crops.

National Academy of Sciences spokesperson, Modesto Montoya, told the state press agency, that fallen meteorites do not present any danger unless they hit a structure. "None of the meteorites that fall in Peru and make perforations of varied sizes are harmful for people, unless they fall on a house," he said.

This article is based on several articles, most importantly that of Rory Carroll, Guardian Unlimited.

Also see:
http://news.bbc.co.uk
http://www.guardian.co.uk
http://news.yahoo.com

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