A meteorite has left a 12m wide crater after crashing into a wooded area near the international airport in the Nicaraguan capital, Managua.

Residents nearby reported hearing a loud bang, feeling an impact, and the smell of burning shortly after midnight on Monday morning local time (06:00 GMT).

The meteorite, which is believed to have broken off the larger asteroid 2014RC as it passed close to Earth at a distance of around 40,000km (25,000 miles), left a crater 12m wide and 5m deep. It is not yet clear whether the meteorite exploded on impact or remains buried beneath the soil in the crater.

Nicaraguan authorities have asked for international help in recovering and studying the meteorite.

The impact follows the meteorite explosion in Chelyabinsk, Central Russia, in February 2013, which left more than 1,000 people injured.

Nasa currently tracks the orbits of around 11,0000 asteroids that orbits pass close to the Earth, but smaller meteorites can be difficult to spot.

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