RIGA, October 26 (RIA Novosti) - Reports that a meteorite fell to Earth on Sunday leaving a 20-meter crater near a town in Latvia are false, a scientist said Monday after studying the site where the body was said to have hit the ground.
Latvian media said the object fell near a residential house on the outskirts of Mazsalaca town in the Valmiera district of Latvia, leaving a crater of some 20 meters (66 feet) in diameter and 10 meters (33 feet) deep. Some experts said the body could have been a satellite or its fragment.
"The crater was dug artificially, probably with shovels. No meteorite or satellite fragments were discovered there. This entire story turned out to be a hoax. The meteorite is a fake," said Ilgonis Vilks, the head of the University of Latvia's Astronomy Institute.
Vilks, who studied the incident site with a group of colleagues from Latvia and Estonia, said the scientists took specimens for further research to have their conclusions confirmed.
A spokesperson for the Latvian State Fire and Rescue Service said earlier Monday that rescuers and soldiers had immediately cordoned off the territory where the object reportedly fell.
A witness who said he saw the object falling described a burning trail in the sky and a noise similar to that made by an aircraft flying at low altitude.