A large metal cylinder thought to be from a Chinese satellite or aircraft fell from the sky and slammed into a jade mining area in northern Myanmar, state media reported Friday. The large barrel-shaped object, 4.5 metres long and just over a metre in diameter, crashed onto property owned by a jade mining company in Kachin State’s Hpakant township yesterday, reported the Global New Light of Myanmar. Another smaller piece of metal bearing Chinese writing tore through the roof of a house in a nearby village at the same time, the paper said. No one was injured.
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“The metal objects are assumed to be part of a satellite or the engine parts of a plane or missile,” the Global New Light said, adding that authorities were still trying to confirm their origin.
Pictures circulated on social media showed what appeared to be pieces of technological equipment and wiring attached to the inside of the vast cylinder. Local residents reported hearing a loud bang before the hunk of metal landed and then proceeded to bounce some 50 metres across the mining area before coming to rest in the mud. The bizarre events came the same day Chinese state media reported Beijing had recently launched a satellite into space.
“It could not be confirmed whether the launch of the satellite and the metal objects found in Kachin state were related,” the Global New Light said.
Hpakant is the centre of Myanmar’s murky multi-billion dollar jade industry, which feeds a voracious demand for the stone in neighbouring China. A string of deadly landslides in the mine-pocketed area have killed scores over the past year.