A small meteorite narrowly missed the international airport in the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, on Saturday night, government officials said, leaving a crater in a wooded area.
Spokesperson Rosario Murillo said a committee formed by the government to investigate the incident confirmed it was a “relatively small” meteorite that “appears to have come off an asteroid that was passing close to Earth”, the Associated Press reported.
She said the Nicaraguan government is seeking the expertise of international experts to help local scientists further investigate what happened.
Just before midnight on Saturday, residents around the capital heard a loud, mysterious boom and felt the blast.
“I was sitting on my porch and I saw nothing, then all of a sudden I heard a large blast. We thought it was a bomb because we felt an expansive wave,” said local resident Jorge Santamaria told AP.
Strangely, no one has reported seeing a streak of light before the impact, which has left a crater 12 meters (39 feet) wide and 5 meters (15 feet) deep, BBC reported.
Humberto Saballos, a volcanologist with the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies who was a member of the committee, said it is still not clear yet if the meteorite disintegrated or was buried.
He said it could be part of the asteroid that was forecast to pass by the Earth on Saturday night.
“It could have come off that asteroid, because it is normal for that to occur. We have to study it more because it could be ice or rock,” he said.
But Wilfried Strauch, an adviser to the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies, said it was odd that no one reported a streak of light before the impact.
“We have to ask if anyone has a photo or something,” he said.
No one was hurt in the incident.