A Canadian hockey player says he thought the shock wave from a meteor that exploded in the sky over Russia was due to a plane crash or bomb going off.

Michael Garnett said the rumble that went through his apartment building in the city of Chelyabinsk shattered windows, stirred people from their beds and created a sense of panic as people tried to figure out what happened.

“Before my alarm went off … my whole apartment was just bombarded,” said Garnett, who plays for Traktor Chelyabinsk in the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). “It was so loud, it was this huge bang. I jumped out of bed and I was terrified.

“My light fixtures were shaking, one of my vents blew out and there was debris on the ground,” Garnett told CP24 on Friday. “I didn’t know what was happening. I was just scared.”

The 30-year-old goaltender, originally from Saskatoon, said he looked out his window to see the meteor’s contrail, and then gathered in the hallway with his neighbours before venturing outside to assess the damage.

“The shock wave was so great that I thought for sure it happened at my building,” said Garnett, who once played for the NHL’s now-defunct Atlanta Thrashers. “As soon as I got out I drove around my building to the other side expecting to see a plane or a bomb, I had no idea.”

Instead, Garnett encountered people whose windows had been blown out, and they were just as puzzled as he was.

According to the KHL, Traktor Chelyabinsk’s arena was one of the buildings that was damaged.

In a statement, the league said hockey games and other events at Arena Traktor have been postponed until further notice because of damage to the building’s walls.

The building is undergoing an inspection to assess the damage and determine when the venue can reopen to the public.

Hundreds of people injured

Chelyabinsk health chief Marina Moskvicheva said Friday nearly 1,000 people in the city had asked for medical assistance. Many suffered cuts from broken glass.

The Interfax news agency quoted Moskvicheva as saying 43 were hospitalized.

The Russian Academy of Sciences said the meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 kilometres-per-hour.

The meteor shattered about 30 to 50 kilometres above the ground, releasing several kilotons of energy above the Ural Mountains.

With files from The Associated Press

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