Police officers and firefighters are investigating a real-life mystery after being called to an unusual scene in the Stockfeld neighbourhood part of Strasbourg, France.
Emergency services were alerted around 8am local time (7am GMT) on Monday following reports of “smoke coming from a car” parked on rue de la Lisière, the outskirts of the Alsatian city.
Upon their arrival, the small, red vehicle at the centre of the investigation presented a hole in the roof wide around 50 centimetres in diameter.
Now, experts are considering the possibility the extensive damage to the car, which affected also its underbody and fuel tank, may have been dealt by a meteorite.
In its response report, the fire brigade in Alsace’s department Bas-Rhin said: “Following reconnaissance by the first team, we suspect the fall of a stellar body.
Fire brigade captain Matthieu Colobert provided more details, saying “no object” was found inside the car but whatever damaged it made a “significant” impact given it cut through several layers of metal.
He told the AFP news agency: “Either the object was so small that it cannot be found, or the impact was such that the object disintegrated and turned to dust.”
Further speaking about the possible culprit of this bizarre incident, he said a piece of gravel about two centimetres wide that was discovered on the scene raised the suspicion of emergency services, and was therefore handed over to the police, set to send it to Paris for further analysis to determine its nature to be carried out by the forensic science department.
A police spokesman said of the piece of gravel: “It’s an object the size of a hazelnut, which looks like burnt wood, very light. Did an object come from space? That’s the question.
“Even a marble launched at very high speed on a descent can do damage. But we still have to prove that it’s an object that came from space.”
Given the mystery surrounding the incident, the first responders set up a safety perimeter around the car and searched for any radioactivity before clearing the area as safe.
This would not be the first incident in Strasbourg suspected to have been caused by a meteorite.
Only a few months ago, in July, a woman was hit on her terrace by an object at first believed to be a fragment of a meteorite on her terrace.
Observatoire de Paris astronomer Jeremie Vaubaillon, however, said the rock was not from outer space but, rather, was a regular earth stone.
The only person in history known to have been struck by a meteorite is Alabama resident Ann Hodges, who in November 1954 survived the impact of a fragment of a 4.5 billion-year-old space rock.