News / Vancouver

'Huge green flash in the sky.' Video shows possible meteor landing in B.C.

A "very large flash" then a "large bang." Social media was actively exploring the possibility of a fireball hitting B.C. that was also seen from Calgary on Monday night.

A screen grab of a tweet from @RafaelPern shows a possible meteor near Nelson, B.C.

@RafaelPern / Twitter

A screen grab of a tweet from @RafaelPern shows a possible meteor near Nelson, B.C.

At least one expert believes a bright flash that lit up the sky over parts of Western Canada on Monday night was likely caused by a space rock that weighed up to 10 tonnes when it barrelled into the Earth's atmosphere.

There were reports of a mysterious fireball streaking across the sky in several locations, including Calgary, the Okanagan Valley and Kootenays in the B.C. Interior and the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island.

In some areas of southern B.C., people said the light was followed by a loud booming sound.

Alan Hildebrand, an associate professor of geoscience at the University of Calgary, said based on videos he saw, the object appeared to be exceptional in size when it entered the atmosphere — between one and 10 tonnes.

"Fireballs occur all the time, but this was particularly bright," he said.

He suspects the massive rock likely broke up into chunks ranging from 10 kilograms to smaller than pea-sized and that the meteorites may have landed somewhere between Slocan Lake and Arrow Lakes in the rugged B.C. Interior.

By the time they landed, the fragments would have cooled off, Hildebrand said.

The American Meteor Society said on its website that it received nearly 200 reports of the fireball, mostly in B.C. But it was also seen from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Washington State, Idaho and Montana.

It said, according to its latest estimated trajectory, it entered the atmosphere near the small town of Boswell B.C. and travelled in a southeast to northwest direction to Meadow Creek, B.C.

Jimmy-Lee Vennard was soaking in a friend's outdoor hot tub in southwest Calgary when he saw what seemed to be a falling star just after 11 p.m.

Vennard, who works as a butler at a posh estate hotel outside the city, is used to seeing falling stars streak across the sky on clear summer nights. But the giant ball of light he saw Monday was like nothing he'd ever witnessed.

"It was insane," he said. "It lit up the neighbourhood ... and then it just disappeared."

Security cameras at the Fernie, B.C., office of Isosceles Business Systems, an information technology company, captured the flash.

It was so bright that cameras switched to day mode, said head field technician Jesse Mould.

Mould was at home watching TV when white light shone through his blinds.

"All of a sudden it was like lightening happened outside," he said.

Footage of a glowing orb racing toward a mountain top was caught by a security camera at Jacquie McKay's cattle ranch in Bridge Lake, B.C., northwest of Kamloops.

"I was actually reading and there was a bright flash outside the window and my husband's like 'what the heck?'"

Mounties across British Columbia were kept busy Monday night with dozens of reports of a possible meteorite strike.

" It's obviously bright enough for people all over to see it," said RCMP Staff Sgt. Troy Gross.

Alberta RCMP Cpl. Curtis Peters said there was one call Monday night from High River, south of Calgary, and two from the Crowsnest Pass with its cluster of towns nestled in the Rocky Mountains right by the B.C. boundary.

— With files from CKNW and News1130

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