French Woman Gets Hit by a Supposed Meteorite

  • What are the odds? Well, apparently about one in 480 billion.

Try to think of a few extremely unlikely things that could happen to you. Was getting hit by a falling meteorite on your list?

If not, it should be. Getting smacked by a space rock is so rare it practically never happens.

Yet, it’s not impossible. A French woman recently got hit by what appeared to be a meteorite.

On July 6, the woman was sitting outside on her terrace in the town of Schirmeck in the eastern Alsace region bordering Germany. She was talking to her friend something suddenly zipped by and hit her in the chest.

“I heard a big ‘poom’ coming from the roof next to us. In the second that followed, I felt a shock in the ribs,” the woman reported according to

At first, the woman thought that the thing hitting her was a small bird or possibly a bat. But nope — it turned out to be a small chunk of rock.

Well, we say “small” but it still left a nasty bruise.

The woman took the rock to a local roofer, who suggested that it could be a meteorite. Curious, she then delivered the stone to geologist Dr. Thierry Rebman at the University of Basel.

According to Dr. Rebman, the stone — resembling volcanic rock — showed signs that it could’ve been superheated in the atmosphere. In other words, it was a meteorite.

There was nothing particularly remarkable about the stone itself. But the fact that it hit a human being is remarkable.

“Finding a meteorite is rare, but in addition to being in direct contact and having it fall on you from the sky, it’s an almost unique case,” Dr. Rebman said according to LiveScience.

An example of a meteorite melted in the atmosphere.

Skeptics Abound

However, not everyone believes the pebble that impacted the French woman is a meteorite. Astronomer Jeremie Vaubaillon from the Paris Observatory insists the rock is of terrestrial origin.

Vaubaillon has seen pictures of the stone and says they don’t match the profile of a meteorite for several reasons.

First of all, there are some sharp edges on the rock. Vaubaillon told that meteorites simply can’t have such geometries.

“Remember that during its flight in the atmosphere, the initial rock melts because of the surrounding super-hot plasma. Picture an ice cube melting: there is quickly no angular pieces left,” Vaubaillon stated.

Additionally, the surface of the pebble looks irregular and — for lack of a better word — bubbly. Due to melting, the surfaces of meteorites are smooth.

Another expert who doubts Dr. Rebman’s analysis is Francois Colas, an astronomer with the Fireball Recovery and InterPlanetary Observation Network (FRIPON). According to him, FRIPON constantly monitors the French skies for signs of meteors, such as flashes of light.

Colas said that there was absolutely nothing in the sky on July 6 that would’ve indicated a meteorite fell to Earth.

“Such an object … does not go unnoticed. In this season, there are also many amateur astronomers who observe — they would have reported such an event,” Colas said.

Additionally, both experts say the odds of anyone getting hit by a meteorite are so low that it’s practically impossible. As such, they don’t believe the rock came from space.

It’s Happened Before

Something definitely hit the French woman, but we at Oddee aren’t qualified to say whether it was a meteorite. What we can say, though, is that there are historical precedents for getting hit by space rocks.

One of the most famous cases happened in 1954. An estimated 4.5-billion-year-old piece of rock fell from space and crashed through an Alabama woman’s roof, hitting her on the hip.

In 1677, a potential meteorite killed a person. According to a manuscript from the time, a stone “projected from the clouds” hit an Italian monk, instantly killing him.

Documents from Ottoman Kurdistan, dating to 1888, also suggest to a meteorite event. According to those papers, a stone from the sky killed one person and paralyzed another.

Additionally, just this year, a verified meteorite smashed through the roof of a New Jersey home. That didn’t hit anyone — although the homeowners might wish it would’ve put them out of the misery of paying for the roof repairs.

You probably don’t have to worry about getting struck by a smooth meteorite, though. The chances of that happening are — based on various estimates — between 1:250,000 to 1:480 billion.

But hey, it could happen.