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Norwegian skydiver narrowly dodges meteorite

Skydivers form a missing man formation in Eloy, Arizona, April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Henry Wiggers/Handout via Reuters

OSLO: A Norwegian skydiver narrowly escaped a meteorite that passed only meters away from him while jumping over Norway, according to a video aired by public broadcaster NRK.

The footage, broadcast by NRK late on Thursday, was recorded by cameras fixed on the sportsman's helmet and shows what looks like a large rock passing at very high speed near Anders Helstrup, who had just opened his parachute.

"We've thought of all possible scenarios, like could it have been packed in the equipment? Or something falling from a plane? Or something belonging to the other flyers?" Helstrup told NRK.

But at that moment, "nothing's above me or near me," he said.

Geologist Hans Amundsen, commenting on the footage, described the object as a meteorite, in its last "dark flight" phase, when it no longer emits any light.

If confirmed, it would be the first time ever that a meteorite is filmed in its post-incandescense phase.

"If you'd jumped a fraction of a second later, you'd be dead," Amudsen told the skydiver.

The incident took place in June 2012 in southern Norway and the region has since been combed to find the space rock.

The video went viral on social media, where experts have carefully examined it.

"I'm more than a little sceptical of this story, but it's not entirely ridiculous," astronomer Scott Manley said on Twitter.

"If I were going full tinfoil hat I'd say that it's an easy thing to add to a video. I hope they find the rock on the ground."

"I can't say if it's real or not ... Seems unlikely though," said Phil Plait, an astronomy blogger.

NRK confirmed the authenticity of the footage to AFP.

 

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