'Meteor' crashes at Kilimambogo

Saturday July 16 2011

A military officer displays the mysterious object that fell from the sky.

Photo/FILE A military officer displays the mysterious object that fell from the sky.  

By OLIVER MUSEMBI

An unknown mass believed to be from outer space on Saturday fell near Kilimambogo and Tala towns.

Initially, there were reports of an explosion in Kangundo, Tala, Yatta and Kakuzi before an extra-terrestrial rock fell at around 10 am.

Area residents say the loud sound was comparable to a bomb explosion or a crashing aircraft while others felt it was an earthquake.

Police and military officers from Thika rushed to the scene at Kiumwiri village, Murang’a county. The military later took away the object for expert analysis.

The black smooth rock weighing about five kilos fell at a maize plantation, 60 meters from a nearby homestead, but no one was harmed.

Lt Col J.N. Vungo, the commanding officer of the 12th Engineers Battalion, said initial assessment indicate that the object was not manmade and was believed to have come from outer space.

“We got conflicting reports from Kilimambogo area indicating that an aircraft had crashed or a bomb had exploded in the area and jointly with the police we mobilised our officers to find out what was happening,” he said.

On locating the scene, security personnel sealed off the area, which was attracting curious residents.

“We believe it is a heavenly body, probably a piece of a meteor that may have disintegrated on entering the earth’s atmosphere,” said Lt Col Vungo, who was accompanied by Thika police boss Paul Leting.

Mr Vungo said reports from Ndunyu Sabuk area indicated that a bigger object was seen in the skies before it disintegrated after a loud blast.

The official said according to witnesses, the object raised a cloud of dust on hitting the ground, was extremely hot and was spinning on impact.

“Meteors often lose stability and fly away from their orbit, but they burn out on entering the atmosphere due to friction, Lt Col Vungo said.

However, he added that it was a rare occurrence in the East African region.

An eye witness Ms Jane Wangui Kibugi said she was only 50 meters away when the object fell.

“I saw a cloud of dust and when I went closer I found the black smooth stone, which had dug a hole on the ground,” she said.