Friday morning, September 12, at 0830 hrs a brilliant orange light appeared at 70° in the north-northwestern sky above the sleepy Hosur Taluk in the Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu, India. The light flashed for an instant, turned darker and followed by a train of thick black smoke several fiery tongues radiated down towards the ground, as if an irate deity had spit fire from the skies of Krishnagiri.
Only seconds later the villages of Attakuruki, Ullukurukki and Kamanadody became the ground zero of a tremendous blow as several meteorites, each consisting of a few kilos of extraterrestrial rock, slammed into roads and fields. The rural countryside echoed with thunderous explosions as shockwaves from atmospherical explosions rattled houses and dwellings in their foundations.
“The impact blast shook the houses and made us run out of our homes,” explained local resident K. Srinivasan, 30 to a correspondent of the Deccan Chronicle. M. Nirmala, 35 an Attakuruki woman, was taking a bath in her home, when one of the meteorites impacted less then ten meters from her front door. She was convinced a bomb had hit the house, as the walls of her home trembled. “I was numb and had problems to hear” she told journalists. “When I walked out of the door, people screamed, cows were bawling and the air was thick of dust.” Mrs. Timakka, 40, explained: “As I looked to the sky there was smoke everywhere, as if from a big fire.”
In front of her house an impact hole four feet in diameter gaped in the tar road. Debris was scattered more than thirty meters around it. A man, who had seen the impact, but not the falling stone, explained. “There was this sound in the air, like someone heavily beating a carpet when out of nothing halfway between a group of cows and me a fountain of earth and rock opened up in the middle of the road, as high as the temple of Shiva in Hosur. It knocked me from my feet.”
Another eyewitness, G. Doraiswamy told journalists that explosions shook the ground for half a minute. A. Padbhmanan explained a rattling noise, like a train passing by, could be heard at the time of the fall. Both witnesses explained that a trail of smoke could be seen rising from the ground high up in the sky.
Soon the whole village was up on the road and carefully approaching the impact pit around which the dust slowly settled. The meteorite had fallen almost vertically in the last stage of his descent. It had impacted the ground with a terminal speed of 55 meters per second or 200km per hours, subsequently penetrated a 20cm layer of tar and gravel. Its shattered fragments had buried themselves 1 meter into the ground.
Fragments of rocks and meteorite were shattered around but the latter were not recognized at the spot. The excited villagers were convinced that the big bang and the gaping hole were caused “by the accidental dropping of a bomb by an IAF trainee pilot”.
As the dust settled, it became clear that not one but several objects had fallen. Until the evening of September 12 three different impact sites became known and a fourth in the next morning. Two days later a fifth impact mass was reported. Until late November eight impact sites are known.