What’s the oldest record of someone getting killed by a meteorite?
Earth being hit by rocks is a usual thing, but there are very few records of people being hit by meteorites. Someone being killed is even rarer. Scientists at Ego University and Trakya University in Turkey and the SETI Institute in the United States found an 1888 record from the General Directorate of state archives of Turkey. This contained three manuscripts that seem to recount a death by a meteorite event.
- One manuscript is dated September 13, 1988. This has details about a fireball occurring in an evening a month before. The exact location of the village mentioned can not be determined they say. According to the description, smoke and fire accompanied the flash, and meteorites rained from the sky for about 10 minutes. One man died and another was injured and paralyzed as a result.
- Another manuscript contains a request forwarded to sultan Abdul Hamid II asking what to do about the event.
- There’s also a third manuscript describing events, and mentioning a man named Ahmed Munir Pasha sent a letter with a piece of those stones to the Grand Vizier.
according to the translations in the new paper, titled “Earliest evidence of death and injury by a meteorite”, on August 22, 1888, a meteor exploded over a village in Turkey killing one man and paralyzing another man. A local legislator reported the event on September 13 same year. The central government was aware of this on October 9.
Scientists say that the translation of these documents was very hard since Ottoman Turkish is difficult to read. They also accept that they don’t have physical evidence to support this. But this still can be accepted as the earliest record of someone getting killed by a meteorite.
Deaths and injuries caused by meteorites are extremely rare, but there are few recorded incidents that happened recently.
- A bus driver in India named V. Kamaraj died in an apparent meteorite strike in Natrampalli back in 2016. But scientific experts and NASA denied the claim.
- The National Resource Council estimates that 91 people should die in meteorite-related accidents every year, but there aren’t records of these deaths.
- In 2013, over 1600 people were injured when a meteor fell over Chelyabinsk in Russia.
- A famous incident is of Ann Hewlett Hodges who was hit and slightly injured by a meteorite, in Alabama 1954.