meteor mayotte island
© @Bee_Mondroha/Twitter
A meteor has exploded above the island Mayotte, sparking concern on the French overseas department, located near Madagascar off the eastern coast of Africa.

Initial reports indicated an explosion had taken place somewhere on the island. The local authorities said on Twitter: "Tonight, several testimonies reported a noise that would have occurred in the Mahorais sky. At this stage no explanation could be provided. All states are mobilised to find an explanation of this phenomenon."

It later became clear a meteor had entered the Earth's atmosphere above Mayotte.

One resident said: "It's gone in the direction of the sea. It was a ball of fire that had a kind of tail and was going very fast.

"The fire was very bright on the front. The fireball travelled from Labattoir to head offshore."

Other photos shared on social media showed a bright orb on the horizon.

The incident took place at around 9.30pm local time (6.30pm GMT).

It is not the first time a meteor has caused panic or damage on the ground below.

In 2013 the Chelyabinsk meteor injured almost 1,500 people in Russia when it exploded in the sky.

The meteor caused an explosion more than 25 times as powerful as atomic bomb detonation in Hiroshima.