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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Meteorite Brings Mysterious Illness

LIMA, Peru -- A fiery meteorite crashed into southern Peru over the weekend, experts confirmed. But they were still puzzling over claims that it gave off fumes that sickened 200 people.

Local residents told reporters that a fiery ball fell from the sky and smashed into the desolate Andean plain near the Bolivian border Saturday morning.

Jose Mechare, a scientist with Peru's Geological, Mining and Metallurgical Institute, said Wednesday that a geologist had confirmed that it was a "rocky meteorite," based on the fragments analyzed.

He said water in the meteorite's muddy crater boiled for about 10 minutes from the heat and could have given off a vapor that sickened people, and scientists were taking water samples.

Peasants living near the crater said they had smelled a sulfurous odor for at least an hour after the meteorite struck and that it had provoked upset stomachs and headaches.