meteorMANILA, Philippines — A meteor streaked at supersonic speed over Russia’s mountains on Friday (February 15), setting off blasts that reportedly injured 500 people, 34 of them hospitalized.

In a statement issued right after the incident, the Russian Academy of Sciences said the meteor over the Chelyabinsk region entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of at least 33,000 mph and shattered about 18-32 miles above ground.

The meteor crash caused huge explosions that damaged a wide area and broke glass windows and doors in the nearby houses.

Authorities said many people went into panic and had no idea what was happening. Everyone, in Chelyabinsk, about 930 miles east of Moscow, the biggest city in the affected region, was going around to people’s houses to check if they were unhurt.

Online News sites in Russia cited military spokesman Yarslavl Roshupkin as saying that a 20-foot-wide crater was found in the same area which could be the result of fragments striking the ground.

Meteors typically cause sizeable sonic booms when they enter the atmosphere because they are traveling much faster than the speed of sound, space experts disclosed.