A Canadian woman recently had a rude awakening as a meteorite tore through the ceiling of her home, covering her in debris and prompting a 911 call.
At her home in Golden, British Columbia on October 3, Ruth Hamilton had been sound asleep when she was initially awakened by her dog barking. Shortly thereafter, the meteorite collided with her home, puncturing the ceiling and landing on the bed near where she had been sleeping.
Hamilton recalled hearing a sudden explosion.
“I jumped out of bed and turned on the lights,” Hamilton was quoted saying after the incident, saying that she dialed 911 shortly afterward.
Hamilton said the operator had been “asking me all kinds of questions.”
“At that point,” Hamilton said, “I rolled back one of the two pillows I’d been sleeping on and in between them was the meteorite.”
Despite having found the space rock, Hamilton initially considered whether the object that entered her home might have come from a nearby blast site. However, a follow-up by the RCMP found that workers at the blast site the same evening said they observed the meteorite as it streaked overhead.
Hamilton admitted that the incident had left her frightened.
“I was shaking like a leaf,” the British Columbia resident recalled.
Now, she is aware that despite the incredible odds against it happening, the potential for death by a meteorite strike is possible, after all.
“You’re sound asleep, safe, you think, in your bed,” Hamilton said, noting that she now acknowledges “you can get taken out by a meteorite, apparently.”
According to Peter Brown, Canada Research Chair at Ontario’s Western University who has studied meteorites for the last three decades, although it’s a one in a 100 billion chance per year, it actually does happen, as Hamilton’s story makes evident.
“When we first heard this story we were pretty surprised, but also pretty convinced that it was a meteorite,” Brown told the Chilliwack Progress earlier this week.
Remarkably, Hamilton’s story is not the first incident involving a meteorite striking a home reported in 2021. Earlier this year, a separate incident in Indonesia also involved a meteorite that landed on a resident’s bed.
For Brown, the discovery of intact meteorites offers a rare window to the past, which helps researchers unlock clues to their origins and those of our solar system.
“Ultimately, we’re trying to understand how the solar system and planets formed,” Brown said, who advised residents nearby to be on the lookout for any additional fragments that might have broken off the same space rock that entered Hamilton’s home.
Hamilton, although the rightful owner of the potentially deadly space rock, loaned her new acquisition to researchers with a local university for further studies.
In the meantime, she hopes to return to living a quiet life in the aftermath of the incident that might have claimed her life, had it not been for the barking of her seemingly prescient pet, which might have picked up on sound or other disturbance caused by the approaching space rock.
“Hopefully someone else comes along and takes the focus away from me,” Hamilton says.
Follow and connect with author Micah Hanks on Twitter: @MicahHanks