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Fox News reported that a 7-year-old boy of Loxahatchee, Florida, might have been struck by a meteorite while playing in the driveway of the family’s house on November 23. According to the father, Wayne Lippard, his son Steven was hit in the head by the space rock that later broke into six fragments. The supposed-hit caused a small but deep cut on the head that required three staples to close.

“He’s playing in the driveway and I walk into the house and about four minutes later, he comes to the window screaming,” Lippard told Fox News. “The gash looked pretty bad, but it wasn’t bleeding a lot so we didn’t panic. He actually wanted to go play again.”

Lippard later returned to the driveway to find out what could have been the possible cause of the injury. Searching the ground near where Steven was playing he noticed six small rocks in a 1-meter-diameter area not resembling any others in the proximity. Lippard took the rocks and brought them to Florida Atlantic University for further analysis. The scientists could not determine the origin of the rocks because of the lack of appropriate laboratory equipment. It was, however, revealed that the rocks are magnetized and have a high metallic composition which can be indicative of meteoritic origin.

Lippard, convinced that the fragments are part of a meteorite, stated that he will not give the rocks away without an agreement establishing that they will be returned once the origin is verified.

“I don’t want to let go of them,” Lippard said. “This is a meteorite, I know it. I want to make sure they’re truly investigated properly.”

Until the story is confirmed, obviously, many doubts surround Lippard’s claim. The odds of being hit by a meteorite are extremely low. There have been only two confirmed hits by meteorites in the recent history. In November 1954, a woman was struck by a space rock in Sylacauga, Alabama. A softball-size space rock entered through the ceiling, bounced off a radio, and hit her in the thigh, leaving an impressively large bruise. In 2009, a 14-year-old from Essen, Germany, was struck by a pea-sized meteorite on his hand while going to school. The hit left an 8-cm long scar on his hand and a story to be told for the years to come.

Space Safety Magazine will follow the development of the story to report the result of any future investigations in the accident.

Image caption: the six fragments of the supposed meteorite retrieved by Lippard (Credits: nydailynews.com).

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Matteo Emanuelli

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Matteo Emanuelli is Feature Editor of Space Safety Magazine. He is a young professional from Italy but living in France where he works as engineer and project manager at Université de Picardie. He is member of the Space Generation Advisory Council where he is Co-Lead of the Space Safety Sustainability Project Group. Matteo also worked on a space debris removal mission at the Omsk State Technical University in Russia while he was enrolled at Politecnico di Milano.