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Suspected Meteor explodes over Western Cuba

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HAVANA — A suspected meteor exploded over western Cuba on Friday and rained debris on houses in and around the tourist town of Vinales, some 180 km west of Havana, Xinhua news agency reported, citing local media.

No casualties have been reported and the authorities are already on the site for investigation, according to the Cuban News Agency (ACN).

Experts from Cuba’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment are evaluating the evidence and will provide an official account of the incident later in the day, said Jueventud Rebelde, one of the island’s most circulated newspapers.

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Social media users have posted photos of the small pieces of the meteorite, some of which are as big as a mobile phone.

Witnesses of the unusual occurrence said they heard a very loud noise as if an airplane was about to crash.

“Just over noon time we heard a very strong noise and afterwards it felt like lightning hit the yard of my house,” said Luis Deulofeu, who lives near Vinales.

Minutes later, he went out to the yard and there was a “blue dust” substance and some rocks.

“There isn’t scientific confirmation yet of a meteor but the stones are similar to a mineral because they shine in the sunlight. It was something very rare,” he told Xinhua on phone.

A larger stone of about seven centimetres impacted a nearby tourist facility, opening a small hole in its roof, he said.

The US National Weather Service posted a tweet confirming a meteor had passed nearby Key West, Florida, just 140 km off Cuba’s coast.

“We’re receiving reports that a meteor was seen in the sky across the Florida Keys. It appears that a meteorite impact occurred in western Cuba, near the town of Vinales, Pinar del Rio, earlier this afternoon,” said the message.

— BERNAMA