A suspected meteorite did a close fly-by over Cyprus early on Friday, sending people into consternation over a blitz of bright lights which appeared in the night sky coupled with large bangs. "It had a 45 degree tilt and a bang was heard as it passed over Cyprus," said Ioannis Fakas, the honorary chairman of the Cyprus astronomical society.
People living in the mountainous Troodos range reported green-white glows in the sky at around one in the morning, then large blasts, police said. Some reported the ground shook.
Parts of the meteorite were thought to have fallen into the sea north of Cyprus, Fakas told state TV.
"It wouldn't have weighed any more than a few kilos," he said. "When it crossed Cyprus it exploded," he told the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.
Police in Cyprus suspect that a meteorite gave residents cross the island a rude awakening in the early hours of Friday morning with efforts are currently underway to locate the possible remains of the space rock.
Speaking to the Cyprus Weekly, an official from the Cyprus Police Press Office said it was more than likely that the hundreds of callers had experienced a cosmic phenomenon. The incident occurred between 12 am and 1 am on Friday morning.
“Without confirming anything, we strongly believe that it was a meteorite,” said the police official.
“We have had a lot of witnesses call in reports of what they described as an object with a blue glow streaking across the sky in the areas of Troodos, some Limassol communities, Agros, Palechori and Macheras.”
“We then received reports that a loud explosion was heard followed by what was described as the ground shaking. Some even claimed to see this object hit the ground. Those reports came from areas like Klirou [in Nicosia] all the way to Episkopi.”
Astrologist Demetris Panagiotides later confirmed that a some space rock may have fallen on Troodos but locating it will be a tall order because it would be small in size.
“It was more than likely that this object was more than five kilos when it entered our atmosphere. Sometimes they don’t evaporate when hitting our atmosphere with the tremendous force that they are traveling, especially when they are more than five kilos, which would explain the loud explosion and any possible debris hitting the ground.”
But speaking to the Cyprus Weekly, Cyprus Geological Department official Iordanis Demetriades said that seismic instruments did not record any kind of movement.
“Our seismic instruments would have recorded anything shaking on the ground or in the sea. It is more than likely that this object most probably exploded in the sky which is what may have caused the tremor felt by the public.”
A search is currently underway to try and locate any possible remains of the suspected meteorite by the Cyprus Civil Defence. Civil Aviation officials claim that nothing had been identified or reported by any pilots and that flights had been operating normally over the island’s air space all night and all morning.
Video and CCTV footage showed a fireball streaking through the clear morning sky, followed by loud bangs.
The footage – which was released by Dr Damp in Paphos – shows a flash of light while a reflection of the meteorite can clearly be seen on the windshield of a parked car.
The flash was followed by a serious of loud bangs that were heard and felt through the west of the island. The direction of the meteorite – according to witnesses – was from south to north.