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Peruvian 'meteorite' strike provokes noxious gas attack

600 ill as authorities probe mystery buried object

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The Peruvian authorities are warning people not to visit the site of a suspected meteorite strike in a remote area of the Andes after 600 people succumbed to "headaches, vomiting and nausea" caused by inhaling gas at the scene.

According to the BBC, the impact occurred on Saturday night near Carancas in the Puno region, around 800 miles (1,300km) south of Lima. Locals reported "a fireball in the sky coming towards them" and the subsequent falling to earth left a 98ft (30m) wide by 20ft (6m) deep crater.

The sizeable dent then began to emit "fetid, noxious gases" which seriously affected curious sightseers. Local resident Heber Mamani told the Beeb: "It [the suspected meteorite] is buried in the earth. That is why we are asking for an analysis because we are worried for our people. They are afraid. A bull is dead and some other animals are already sick."

The government has accordingly dispatched a team of scientists to Carancas to investigate. Geologist Honorio Campoblanco "discarded the possibility that the symptoms would have been caused by any form of radiation", but urged the powers that be to prevent people getting too close to the sickness-inducing pit. ®

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