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German lad hit by 30,000 mph meteorite

Size of a pea, luckily

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A 14-year-old German lad survived a close encounter with a meteorite when a pea-sized piece of rock which had entered Earth's atmosphere at 30,000 mph left him with nothing more than a "nasty" three-inch gash on his hand.

According to the Telegraph, Gerrit Blank was on his way to school in Essen when a bright light in the sky heralded the arrival of the red-hot space rock. It bounced off his hand before embedding itself in a foot-wide crater in the ground.

Blank recounted: "At first I just saw a large ball of light, and then I suddenly felt a pain in my hand. Then a split second after that there was an enormous bang like a crash of thunder."

"The noise that came after the flash of light was so loud that my ears were ringing for hours afterwards. When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road."

Subsequent tests on the teen-bashing space pea proved its provenance. Ansgar Kortem, director of Germany's Walter Hohmann Observatory, confirmed: "It's a real meteorite, therefore it is very valuable to collectors and scientists.

"Most don't actually make it to ground level because they evaporate in the atmosphere. Of those that do get through, about six out of every seven of them land in water."

Blank joins an exclusive club of meteorite-strike survivors, with a total membership of two. In 1954, Ann Elizabeth Hodges was having a kip on her sofa in Sylacauga, Alabama when a 3.86 kg meteorite came through the roof, bounced off a radio and caused her some serious bruising on one side of her body. ®

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