|A fireball (stock image) is believed to have crashed into the ocean just off the coast of central Queensland on Monday night|
- It's believed it could have been a fireball crashing to Earth
- Initial reports it may have been an earthquake have been ruled out
A fireball, meteorite or piece of flaming space junk is believed to have crashed into the ocean just off the coast of central Queensland on Monday night.
Thousands of residents along the coastline reported seeing a bright flash of orange lighting up the sky, followed by a rumbling explosion and tremor that shook houses.
The incredible flash of light was reported just before 8.30pm, and was seen as far south as Hervey Bay and as far north as Yeppoon, Higgins Storm Chasing reported.
Police confirmed receiving a number of calls from residents in the Gladstone area, with many experiencing brief power outages and the ground shaking. Initial suggestions it may have been an earthquake were ruled out by GeoScience Australia.
A spokesperson from the Bureau of Meteorology told the Gladstone Observer that they were unable to provide a scientific explanation for the flash of light. 'There doesn't seem to be a weather related explanation for what has been described in the Gladstone area tonight,' BoM spokesperson Meredith Schier said.
It was reported that fire crews were sent out to Emerald beach to investigate reports of an aircraft incident, but a spokeswoman for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said that the crew had since returned after finding nothing.
While social media was flooded with reports of the flash, few were able to capture it. One resident uploaded grainy security footage which showed a flash in the distance. A Beecher woman said it 'felt like an explosion' and was preceded by 'blinding light.'
Lynette from Boyne Island said her husband had been taking out the garbage bins when he turned around and saw 'a brilliant meteor or something flash overhead and disappear over the sea.'
Another woman in Bundaberg said she was nearly blinded by the light, which 'came from the front of my house to the backyard and brightened all the trees up.'
Far further north in Mackay, a mother described the flash as a 'ball of flame falling from the sky.'
The Higgins Storm Chasing crew reported that it was probable that a meteorite had impacted somewhere offshore from the general Gladstone area, 550 kilometres north of Brisbane.