The only person in the world who (probably) died from a meteorite impact and there is a record of it

Dying because a meteorite falls on you sounds really bad luck. But if you’re the only person in the world who dies like that … isn’t it being lucky? It is estimated that each year around 500 metoeritos fall on Earth, the the chances of them hitting someone are extremely slim, so much so that there is only one registered case (and there are doubts).

A group of scientists this year found the oldest, and above all credible, report of a death caused by a meteorite. It happened on August 22, 1888 in what is now known as Sulaymaniyah, a city in Iraq. The different documents are part of the General Directorate of State Archives of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey and they detail how a person lost his life due to the impact of a meteorite more than a century ago.

Ten continuous minutes of meteorites

Local officials in the area sent a series of letters to Abdul Hamid II, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire at the time. In these letters they explain an event that took place a few weeks ago, the fall of a meteorite in the area. The letters tell a very similar story, where an extremely bright light in a town called ‘Dilaver’ came accompanied by smoke.

They indicate that the meteorites fell for a period of about ten minutes as if it were rain. So far quite normal, however there is a second part of the story. According to the letters, a man in a nearby town died from meteorites and two more were paralyzed by impacts. Unfortunately there is no name of the deceased and the other two victims.

Finally, it seems that a sample of the meteorites was sent to the sultan’s royal palace for further study. There is the key to verify this death, according to the researchers. If they manage to find this piece of meteorite stored somewhere in the palace or the museums of the country, they could confirm the authenticity of the letters, the impacts of the meteorites and consequently the death of this person.

The unlikely bad luck of a meteor falling on you

Previously there have been other reports of people who have died from meteorites or have been impacted by some from them. A well-known one was that of a man who died in India four years ago. NASA later denied this. In other cases the victims were simply injured, such as an Alabama woman in the United States who was injured in 1954.

But you don’t have to go far into the past to find real meteor damage to people. In February 2013, the meteorite that fell in Chelyabinsk in Russia left several injured. Without leaving Russia, it is impossible not to mention Tunguska and its impact on Siberia in 1908, surprisingly without reports of deaths.