The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 16, 2013

Cleanup begins after meteor


About 40 people remained in hospitals Saturday, out of 1,200 who had sought treatment for injuries; one woman was evacuated to Moscow in serious condition. Yurevich was not the only person to observe that it was close to a miracle no one had been killed by flying glass.

At School No. 37 in Chelyabinsk, a quick-thinking substitute teacher, Yulia Karbysheva, got all 44 of her fourth graders out of harm's way as the meteor lit up the sky, the Interfax news agency reported. After the intense bright flash of its explosion, the children rushed to the windows, but before the shock wave could hit, she commanded them to get under their desks.

Karbysheva herself was then showered with glass and debris, but the children were unharmed. With a cut to a tendon in her left hand and a gash on her left thigh, she led her class to safety outdoors. The doctor treating her Saturday at Hospital No. 9 told Interfax she would recover.

Although parts of a wall and roof at a zinc factory collapsed, the most badly damaged building in the city was the Ice Palace, a skating arena. The governor said it will require at least $6 million in publicly financed repairs.

About 20,000 police and emergency workers were mobilized to get the city and region back in order. A team of nine glaziers flew in from the city of Tyumen to help with the windows. Meanwhile, with a perfectly round hole about 20 feet across having suddenly appeared in a frozen lake outside Chelyabinsk city, divers went searching for meteorite fragments, but they came up empty-handed.

The meteor, traveling at about 40,000 miles an hour, unleashed the energy of 20 Hiroshima-size bombs as it detonated in the atmosphere.

Shortly afterward, a military spokesman told news services that it had been shot down by an air defense unit. Later, an official with the Ministry of Emergency Situations said that text-message alerts had been sent out before the big blast. Neither assertion was true; both drew strong criticism and mockery online.

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