September 16, 2007
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 on Monday. At around midday on 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 odour", said local health department official Jorge Lopez. Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being admitted to hospital, Lopez said. Rescue teams and experts were dispatched to the scene, where the meteorite left a 30-metre-wide and six-metre-deep crater, said local official Marco Limache. "Boiling water started coming out of the crater and particles of rock and cinders were found nearby. Residents are very concerned," he said.