More than a 150 people have reported suffering headaches and nausea after a suspected meteorite landed in a remote part of Peru.
The object left a hole 20 meters wide and seven meters deep in the ground in the Puno region, near the town of Carancas.
Eyewitnesses have reported seeing a fiery ball falling from the sky and smashing into the desolate Andean plain Eyewitnesses have reported seeing a fiery ball falling from the sky and smashing into the desolate Andean plain near the Bolivian border.
Experts are now on their way to the site to assess the crater, which is reported to be giving off toxic fumes. Local Indians are concerned their water supply is contaminated.
A local police officer said: "Doctors at the health centre of Desaguadero near the border with Bolivia said people should avoid contact with small fragments of the meteorite," reports ITN.
People who ventured near the site of the Sep. 15 strike by the "supposed" meteorite were affected by dizziness, vomiting and skin lesions, the ministry said yesterday in a statement on its Web site. Among the people afflicted were eight police officers who went to the crater near the southeastern towns of Carancas and Desaguadero, the ministry said.
The object that crashed to Earth created a crater 15 meters (50 feet) wide and 5 meters deep, the ministry said. Locals said they became ill after handling a luminous substance at the site that they thought might be valuable, according to the statement.
"Blood tests are being carried out on most of the patients to determine what they're suffering from," the ministry said. "Specialists in epidemiology and environmental health are already in the area to collect samples of the supposed meteorite for analysis," Bloomberg reports.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969