Russian dashboard cameras, YouTube beam meteor explosion worldwide

Social media erupted and news agencies flashed confused updates, but Russia's ubiquitous dashboard cams provided highlights

As jumbled news reports of what appeared to be a meteor shower over Russia trickled out of the country, some of the best views of what happened were from the dashboards of Russian cars.

Over 400 people were injured in the event, many from broken glass, as explosions boomed across the region around the city of Chelyabinsk, according to news reports. Photos and video from the region showed buildings with smashed out windows and at least one factory with heavy damage to a large section of its ceiling and walls.

For those in other locations, however, the most dramatic scenes were captured by Russia's ubiquitous dashboard cameras, quickly uploaded to video sharing sites such as YouTube and copied among different users.

Many Russian drivers install and run dashboard cameras constantly to capture evidence in the case of accidents or scams involving pedestrians purposely getting hit. The cameras have long provided a steady stream of YouTube hits, which are now commonly combined into compilations.

Russia's defense ministry posted a short statement that said the event occurred at 7:20 a.m. Moscow Standard Time across the Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk and Tyumen regions, with the military creating task forces to send to the affected areas.

As traditional media around the world pieced the story together, quoting officials and locals at the scene, the story quickly became a top trend on Twitter, with many users adding the tag "#RussianMeteor."

As meteor fragments rained down on central Russia, locals huddles for safety in buildings and some cars pulled over during their morning commute, according to media reports.

The strike occurred less than 24 hours before the asteroid 2012 DA14, about 50 meters across, is predicted to pass close by the Earth, setting a record for the closest pass by an object of that size, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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Jay Alabaster

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