Young family's lucky escape after 'meteor shower' pelts their Shrewsbury garden with rocks

A mother-of-two told how her young children had a lucky escape - after fragments from a meteor shower rained down in their back garden.

Sarah Marston-Jones was playing outside with Harry, two, and Benjamin, four, when asteroid rocks fell behind her house in Shrewsbury.

The teacher heard a large 'whooshing' sound and a 'cracking' noise as 15 rocks from the meteorite shower blazed through the earth's atmosphere and onto her lawn at 9.30am on Tuesday.

[Pictures: Building begins on 'quarry hotel' built into side of CAVE]

She was forced to rush her two young children off their trampoline to safety indoors as brown and black fragments showered down just inches from where they were playing.

The red-hot rocks, some of which were more than an inch wide, even left a strong burning smell in the family's Shropshire garden.

Experts advised her to check the shards with a magnet as asteroids often contain iron - and she was stunned when it stuck.

Sarah said: 'I don’t know if it was some sort of meteor shower or one fragment which cracked on impact, but I turned around and took one step before hearing this whooshing and cracking sound coming through the hedge and tree, and you could hear lots of dropping sounds on the patio.

[Green-tinged meteor lights up sky]

'There was this really intense burning smell followed by a smell which I can only describe as rotten vegetables.

'I looked under my chair and there was a rock fragment about an inch and a half wide.

'At the time it could have been quite dangerous and even killed one of our children – that’s how close it was.'

A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an asteroid or comet - which originated in outer space but survived impact with the Earth's surface.

Although the family were convinced the rocks were from a meteor, Dr Caroline Smith, curator of meteorites at the Natural History Museum,  told the Daily Telegraph she could not be sure they were asteroid fragments.

On average, meteors can speed through the atmosphere at about 30,000 mph (48,280 kph) and reach temperatures of about 1,648 degrees Celsius (3,000 degrees Fahrenheit).

In February this year, a meteorite injured 1,000 people after breaking up over central Russia.

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