Sunday, June 13, 2004

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A grapefruit-size meteorite smashed through the roof of a house in New Zealand, hitting a couch and rebounding off the ceiling before coming to rest under a computer.

The 2.9-pound chunk of space debris dropped out of the sky and plummeted through the tiled roof of the Auckland home Saturday.

“I was in the kitchen doing breakfast, and there was this almighty explosion,” homeowner Brenda Archer told the Sunday Star-Times newspaper.

“It was like a bomb had gone off. I couldn’t see anything. There was just dust.”

Mrs. Archer’s 1-year-old grandson had been playing nearby minutes before the meteorite hit.

It is the ninth meteorite found in New Zealand and the first to hit a home.

The Archers, who are following scientists’ advice by drying the rock out in their oven, plan to sell it or give it to a museum.

Scientists say the meteorite, a chunk of an asteroid, could be worth more than $6,000.

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