siberian meteor fireball
© The Siberian Times
People in the Republic of Khakassia in southwest Siberia witnessed a large fireball exploding in the sky on Tuesday, which briefly made the evening as bright as the day. Some even managed to catch the event on camera.

Reports of the rare occurrence came from practically the whole of Khakassia, as well as from the neighboring Krasnoyarsk Region, local news website reports.

The event was best seen over the town of Sayanogorsk.

The apparent meteor burned up high in the atmosphere as little or no blast sound was heard on the ground by most eyewitnesses, reports said.

Local forums were bombarded with speculation of a possible rocket malfunction or other technological mishaps, but the emergencies services assured locals that the flare was natural and had caused no damage.

If any fragments of the meteor survived the fall, they most likely landed somewhere around the Babik Valley, the regional authorities told TASS, adding that an expedition had been dispatched to the area.

"[The meteor] was several times smaller than the one over Chelyabinsk, but its fragments may be found," commented Viktor Grokhovsky, professor at the Ural Federal University. "Determining where they landed would require accurate calculation of its path. This may take a day or so."

Local woman Olga Sagalakova told RT that she was frightened by the light and sound of the meteor explosion, having mistaken it for a bomb.

"At first, I couldn't understand what's going on. There was a sudden luminescence. It wasn't as light as day, but still quite bright," she said.

"We looked at the mountain near us... and there was huge meteor flying above it. It had a tail. Frankly, I was scared. I thought that it was a bomb," Sagalakova recalled.