Meteor strike makes Peruvians ill

Here’s an intriguing story:

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.

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.

One guess (in comments attached to the story at is that the meteor was a sulfur bolide, and the symptoms and smell arose from hydrogen sulfide. A second commentator suggested it might have been a piece of a comet; comets often contain cyanogen, which at low levels could cause the symptoms described.

Third guess is that flesh-eating zombies will soon arise in the area and take over the world, but I don’t think they’re serious about that one.

Also impressive: the meteor left a 30-metre-wide, six-metre-deep crater. Aren’t you glad it didn’t land in your backyard…or on your house or place of work?

(Via Futurismic.)

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