In what may become the first confirmed case of a meteorite killing a person, officials are investigating the death of a man in the city of Vellore in Tamil Nadu state, South India.
Over the weekend a bus driver was standing on the grounds of an engineering college when a nearby water cooler exploded. The man dropped to the ground and was later pronounced dead at a hospital. The explosion also shattered windows in buildings surrounding the area.
Though people reported seeing a bright object flashing down from the sky, authorities initially believed the blast was caused by explosives used at a nearby building site.
However, when there was no evidence for that, the investigation shifted to a meteorite after they discovered a small bluish, diamond-like stone in the two-meter (five foot) sized crater left by the explosion. It was found by a metal detector.
Scientists with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics now believe the forty-year-old man was killed by exploding shards off a small meteorite when it smashed into the ground.
Officials are sending the small hard stone, which can fit in a closed hand, for analysis which should confirm if it is a meteor. Others looking at the site have questioned if it was a meteor and it may be debris off a plane or even a satellite or other space craft.
Though it is rare for meteors to hit the ground, it can happen. Meteors are smaller rock that usually burn up before hitting the earth, but on rare occasions one makes it through.
There is a report from 1825 of a man being killed by a meteor, but that could never be confirmed.
But is this man’s death a forewarning of what is to come?
Those interested in the study of the end-times, know that signs in the sky are part of the end-times package. Just before His crucifixion, Jesus described what would be taking place in the end times:
11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:11 NASV)
These terrors and great signs will come from the sky. The word “terror is the Greek word ‘phobetron’ from which we get phobia. It reflects a state of fear, terror or dread and by implication suggests death will be associated with these events.
In the book of Revelation, the apostle John provides a further description. In his vision of the end-times, he saw stars falling from the sky:
12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. (Revelation 6:12-13 NASV)
Though these could be meteors, it is more probable that John is describing the larger asteroids which easily pass through the atmosphere, as he likens them to ripened figs hitting the earth after a big wind.
The crater at the beginning of this story found in Arizona was caused by an asteroid estimated to be the size of a small house. The earth has been spared many hits because of the neighboring planet Jupiter, which due to its immense size and gravitational strength, pulls away most asteroids.
But some still get through. On February 15, 2013, over 1,000 people were injured when an asteroid exploded over the skies of the province of Chelyabinsk in Russia. The blast high in the atmosphere was so powerful that it shattered windows on earth causing injury.
Though it is believed the asteroid was only 19-meters wide, it was nearly 30 times more powerful than the atomic bomb explosion over Hiroshima, Japan during World War II.
Are these signs of what is to come?
- Scientists study meteorite that fell from sky, killed man: Globe and Mail
- Has Indian bus driver become first ever person to be killed by a meteorite strike? DailyMail