‘Fireball in sky’ triggers panic in Kochi

February 28, 2015 12:00 am | Updated April 02, 2016 07:05 am IST - KOCHI:

Members of the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority inspect the site where the fireball reportedly plunged at Karumaloor near Kochi on Saturday.  Photo: Vipin Chandran

Members of the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority inspect the site where the fireball reportedly plunged at Karumaloor near Kochi on Saturday. Photo: Vipin Chandran

The sighting of suspected fireball-like phenomenon, reportedly accompanied with booming sound in some cases, triggered panic across the city and its suburbs on Friday night.

As news spread like wildfire, people came out of their homes in droves in many places with their eyes cast towards the sky. Similar sightings were reported from many parts of the city such as Vyttila, Kakkanad, Vypeen, Palarivattom, and Kathrikkadavu and even from suburbs such as Paravur, Kizhakkambalam, Mazhuvannoor, Kolancherry and Fort Kochi.

Aneesha and Sumesh who were at a restaurant at Fort Kochi claimed to have sighted a lit-up sky reminiscent of fireworks at around 10 p.m. “The sky soon turned blue as it happens just before rain. We felt as if it happened very close to us. But we didn’t feel any tremors or hear any loud sound,” they told The Hindu .

Fire units were dispatched from the Gandhi Nagar unit following panic-stricken calls from residents at Vyttila. “However, our officials could not trace any visible evidence of a drop of fireball to the earth,” Fire Divisional Officer R. Prasad told The Hindu .

State Disaster Management Authority member Sekhar L. Kuriakose ruled out the possibility of an earthquake. “If at all it was a tremor, its magnitude must have been less than 3 in the Richter scale that renders it insignificant. Since we are receiving a lot of calls claiming to have seen a fireball accompanied by sonic sound, it could probably be a meteor blast midair during its descent to the earth,” he told The Hindu . Prof. Joe Jacob, faculty member, Department of Physics, Newman College, Thodupuzha, also pointed towards the involvement of meteor.  “However, that conclusion is purely going by the witness accounts and cannot be scientifically confirmed,” he said. 

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