A fireball was spotted over the skies of Salem City, the capital of coastal state Oregon, crashing somewhere in the wilderness of Polk County on Thursday evening, November 21, 2019. Police officers have since started conducting investigations.
The event was initially reported as a plane crash, but no planes have been reported missing.
"After the 911 call came we were able to get a helicopter in the area (as it is pretty remote) and they didn't see anything of concern. There were no reports of downed aircraft either. We really believe it was a meteor as yesterday there was a somewhat rare meteor shower in our area as well," Sheriff Mark Garton from the PCSO reported.
According to Jim Todd, director of Space Science Education at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the fireball could have been part of a meteor shower.
Moreover, Todd said it could have started as massive as a car, and upon entering the Earth's atmosphere, it had gotten as small as a baseball.
Such fireballs are common but people do not usually witness them, he added.
"These fireballs or meteors occur almost every day, but most of them are so far up, we don’t notice them,” Todd told KPTV. “This one was large enough to survive the entry to the point that we could see it."
Officers said they will try to find the exact location where it landed and investigate what the object was before wrapping up the search. As of 05:30 UTC, the sheriff's office said deputies were scaling back resources and would continue the search in the morning.
"The exact location of the fireball is unknown. PCSO will utilize aircraft during daylight hours tomorrow [Friday] in an attempt to cover the rough terrain in the area and wrap up the search. PCSO has utilized all available aviation tracking systems and no planes have been lost."
The Federal Aviation Administration, as well as the American Meteor Society (AMS) and NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) have yet to report on the matter.
The AMS received only two reports about this event.
Featured image credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office
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