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First known record of death by meteorite discovered

Date: 30 April 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Researchers have uncovered the earliest evidence of a person being hit and killed by a meteorite falling to Earth.

 

Background

Turkish researchers made the discovery while searching through Turkish state archives and they found that the event, which killed one person and injured another, occurred in what is now Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, on Aug. 22, 1888.

 

Details

  • There have long been claims and stories of people being hit by meteorites. However, many of these stories are not substantiated by sufficient evidence, be it a written report or some other historical marker.

  • This issue might be due to the fact that either the manuscript was written in a language other than English, or there is not enough interest in historical records.

  • Amidst this wealth of documents, researchers found letters written by local authorities shortly after a meteorite fell to Earth, barrelling into a hill in what is now Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, on Aug. 22, 1888.

  • The report stated that one man was killed and another paralyzed by the impact. In total they found three letters, written in Ottoman Turkish, which described the event.

  • They also found evidence that the event was reported to Abdul Hamid II, the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

  • More recently, in 1954, Ann Hodges, a resident of eastern Alabama in the United States, was also hit by a meteorite and miraculously was fine.

  • Even more recently, in 2009, Gerrit Blank, a 14-year-old German boy, was also struck by a meteorite. A pea-sized meteorite struck him, only mildly injuring him but surely scaring him.