At 5:30pm local time residents near the northern town of Mazsalaca (Latvia) reported seeing something fall from the sky and set fire on the ground. Firefighters rushed to the farm and concluded that the impact must have come from the air and was the work of a meteorite.
But today (Tuesday), the spokesman for telephone company Tele2 admitted that the alleged meteorite crash was a publicity stunt intended to “inspire Latvia” and give the world a rest from the economic crisis headlines about the Baltic state’s economic crisis.
Scientists had rushed to investigate the 27ft (9m) wide and 9ft (3m) deep hole, while military units cordoned off the area and tested for radioactivity.
But after closer analysis, experts said the hole was too tidy and had to have been made by humans.
He said the firm would reimburse the cash-strapped emergency services who had rushed to the scene.
But Interior Minister Linda Murniece dubbed the stunt a “cynical mockery”.
Latvian authorities said the cost of calling out firefighters, police, the army and scientists was at least 2,000 lats (2,800 euros, 4,250 dollars).
Earlier Monday, police had warned that they would launch a criminal investigation if the alleged meteorite strike near the small northern Latvian town of Mazsalaca was a hoax.