(CNN) — A blast in the sky over South Texas was a meteorite strike, officials said, clearing up confusion over the sudden explosion that puzzled concerned residents.
“We believe we’ve solved the mystery of the loud explosion,” Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said at a Thursday news conference.
Many residents reported hearing a ground-rattling blast in the Lower Rio Grande Valley near the city of Mission Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
Authorities believe a meteorite struck at around 5:28 p.m., which caused a “large explosion or a boom within the city,” said Mission Police Chief Cesar Torres.
Two pilots flying near Houston reported seeing an apparent meteorite, Guerra said, citing a report he received from the FBI.
While meteorite strikes are not unusual, Guerra wanted to reassure people who have been concerned after multiple objects over US airspace were shot down in recent days.
“Obviously with all these incidents close, you can imagine what our constituents’ and our citizens’ fears were,” Guerra said.
The National Weather Service in Brownsville, Texas, said a satellite system designed to measure lightning strikes detected the apparent meteorite. There were no storms in the area at the time.
“It can frighten our residents, and we want to make sure that we give as much information to our residents to help them feel safe and secure here in our local community,” said US Rep. Mónica de la Cruz, who represents the area.
Earlier this month, US military fighter jets shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard, defense officials said. Many Americans were in awe as they tracked the balloon from Montana all the way to the Carolinas.
Several days later, a US fighter jet shot down another airborne object over Lake Huron, the Pentagon said. It followed the downing of an unidentified object over northern Canada, one day after an object had been shot down over Alaskan airspace by a US F-22.
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