[meteorite-list] Burst of Meteors Seen Near Finland

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue Jul 13 21:08:13 2004
Message-ID: <200407140108.SAA03205_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Fins mistake meteor shower for SOS
July 13, 2004

A burst of meteors over Finnish coastal waters early Tuesday prompted
hundreds of Finns to mistakenly report the natural phenomenon as
emergency flares from distressed vessels, officials said.

"The shower might have lasted just a few seconds, but so far we got over
70 calls. The first hour was very busy here," said Matti Salokorpi,
senior lieutenant with the maritime rescue center in Vaasa, some 420
kilometres northwest of Helsinki.

On a normal night the rescue centre might get around 10 calls, he told
AFP, adding that Vaasa's ambulance and fire services had received as
many calls due to the natural phenomenon created when space debris hits
the earth's atmosphere at high speed.

Several other rescue centres along the Finnish west coast reported
numerous similar calls, according to media here.

One of the callers, cruising in his pleasure boat off the coast,
described the phenomenon as a red fireball moving swiftly through the
night sky, spewing sparks and leaving a trail of vapor before turning
white as it entered the atmosphere, Finnish news agency FNB reported.

A glowing meteor could easily be mistaken for an emergency flare, which
is an international alarm signal for sailors in need of assistance,
Salokorpi said.

According to Finnish and international maritime regulations, any person
who sees an emergency flare is bound by law to report it, he said. It is
up to the rescue center to decide whether such an observation is a
distress call or not, and not the observer.
Received on Tue 13 Jul 2004 09:08:09 PM PDT

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