China rocket parts hit villager's home: police, media

August 28, 2015
The Chang'e-3 rocket carrying the Jade Rabbit rover blasts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province on December 2, 2013

Debris from a rocket carrying a Chinese satellite into orbit crashed into a villager's home minutes after the launch, local police and media reports said.

The parts plummeted to earth with a huge roar Thursday morning in Xunyang county in the northern province of Shaanxi, news portal Sina said on a social media account, citing local sources. No casualties were reported, it added.

Pictures showed a man standing beside what appeared to be a nozzle as tall as him, in front of a cracked wall and with pieces of broken bricks on the ground.

Another image showed a large hole in a red-tiled roof.

In a post on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, Xunyang police said the machinery was part of a rocket's propulsion system and called on local residents "not to panic".

A Long March-4 rocket carrying a remote sensing satellite—which is to be used for experiments, land surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster prevention—was launched into space from neighbouring Shanxi province nine minutes before the impact, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Beijing views its ambitious, military-run, multi-billion-dollar space programme as a symbol of the country's progress, but it is not unknown for pieces of it to plunge through villagers' roofs.

In 2013, debris from a rocket carrying China's first moon rover plummeted to earth more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) from the launch site, crashing into two homes.

© 2015 AFP