A powerful blast rocked the Russian region of the Urals early on Friday with bright objects, identified as possible meteorites, falling from the sky, government officials said.
"It was definitely not a plane," an official told Reuters, without elaborating. "We are gathering the bits of information and have no data on the casualties so far."
No one was hurt in a meteor-shower, an official told RIA-Novosti. Local residents said they witnessed burning objects in the sky of the Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk regions.
A Reuters witness in Chelyabinsk reported hearing a huge blast early in the morning and feeling a shockwave in a 19-storey building in the town centre.
The sounds of car alarms and breaking windows could be heard in the area, the witness said, and mobile phones were working intermittently.
"Preliminary indications are that it was a meteorite rain," an emergency official told RIA-Novosti. "We have information about a blast at 10,000-metre (32,800-foot) altitude. It is being verified."
The trace from a falling object could be seen in Yekaterinburg, some 200 km (125 miles) southeast of Chelyabinsk, another Reuters witness said.