MOSCOW, September 13 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian librarian got the surprise of her life when a sack of cement fell from the sky just inches from her car as she traveled along a highway outside Moscow.
“I was very scared. It was a close call,” Yekaterina Geniyeva, an expert on 19th-century English literature who heads the All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature, told RIA Novosti.
Geniyeva said the sack “burst into a cloud of cement” upon hitting the ground, and estimated its weight at 50 kg.
“I consider that day my second birthday,” she added.
The incident took place on City Day in Moscow last Saturday, which led Geniyeva to surmise that the cement was being used for cloud seeding. The technology, utilized by Moscow authorities to ensure dry weather on major public celebrations, involves spraying the clouds outside the city with cement powder, causing instant precipitation and sparing the city rain on its parades.
The Atmospheric Technology Agency company, which handles cloud seeding in Moscow, confirmed it had dispersed clouds on City Day, but denied mislaying any cement, Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported.
“The powdered reagent is dropped not in sacks, but in boxes that disintegrate into tiny pieces in the air,” a company spokesperson was cited as saying.
“There are cameras on every plane [we use], we went through the footage but saw nothing of the sort,” the spokesperson said.
The company offered no alternative explanation for where the object that narrowly missed Geniyeva could have come from.
In 2008, a box of cloud seeding reagent failed to open in the air and crashed into the roof of a house outside Moscow. No one was injured. The Federal Meteorological Service, which oversees the cloud seeding operations, said at the time it was the first such incident in two decades.