Police in B.C. receive multiple calls about possible meteorite strike

Police in B.C. receive multiple calls about possible meteorite strike

Video taken by Jacquie McKay shows the night sky lit up by a large fireball in the B.C. Interior on Monday, Sept. 4. Credit: Jacquie McKay/Facebook

Police in British Columbia received dozens of calls on Monday night about a possible meteorite strike in the south-central part of the province.

People from B.C. and Alberta took to social media to say they heard a sonic boom and saw a fireball hit the ground at around 10 p.m.

WATCH: Video of a possible meteorite taken by Jacquie McKay. Credit: Jacquie McKay/Facebook

Police received calls from the Comox Valley, Nelson, the Okanagan and as far as Calgary to the east.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Troy Gross said it’s a little out of the ordinary for so many people across such a large area to call about a single thing.

“Of course we have no idea what it is, but I’m assuming it’s probably a meteor shower. It’s obviously bright enough for people all over to see it,” Gross said.

One Twitter user said the event “definitely” shook their house in Nelson while another reported a “very bright flash” followed by a “large bang” about four minutes later.

A resident in Creston reported seeing a “huge green flash in the sky” followed by an orange fireball then a sonic boom that shook the house.

Kevin Skrepnek, chief fire information officer for B.C., tweeted that he was sitting on a patio in Nelson, B.C. when the entire sky lit up.

“Huge boom about 1m later,” Skrepnek wrote.

Skrepnek later wrote that he thought it was a power surge, with all the streetlights shorting at once.

“Then, to the east, I saw a reddish fireball streak and break up (almost like a sideways firework) going south to north,” Skrepnek wrote.

“Nothing happened afterward, but then within 60 seconds there was a massive sound (like a long, rolling thunderclap) for about five seconds.”

The American Meteor Society said it received more than 200 reports about the fireball event, primarily from British Columbia, but also from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

The society said based on its latest estimated trajectory, it believes the fireball travelled in a southeast to northwest direction, entering the atmosphere near Boswell, B.C. and terminating near Meadow Creek, B.C.

University of Calgary geoscience professor Alan Hildebrand says the object that barrelled into the Earth’s atmosphere could have weighed up to 10 tonnes.

Hildebrand says he suspects the rock broke up into chunks ranging from 10 kilograms to smaller than pea-sized as it fell to the Earth’s surface.

He says the meteorites may have landed somewhere between Slocan Lake and Arrow Lakes in the rugged B.C. Interior.

Hildebrand says the rock fragments would have cooled off by the time they hit the ground.

Gross said he hopes the experts can determine just what happened in order to satisfy everyone’s curiosity.

With files from the Canadian Press

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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