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China rocket debris hits village, injures boy

By Richard Stenger

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(CNN) -- A boy in northern China received minor injuries when fragments from a satellite launch fell on his remote village in Shaanxi Province, state media reported this week.

The debris shower followed the launch of the Ziyuan-2B spacecraft, which blasted off October 27 from a neighboring province atop a 45-meter (148-foot) Long March rocket.

Spent booster parts should have fallen in a nearby mountainous area, but wind changes sent some of the pieces into the Yanghe village, according to Chinese newspapers.

Villagers recovered about 20 metal pieces. One 22-pound (10-kilogram) chunk struck Wu Jie, a boy between age 5 and 9.

Wu was taken to the hospital with only slight injuries, the government-owned Yangcheng Evening News said, according to the online English edition of Shenzhen Daily.

His father, Wu Fusheng, said he spent more than 400 yuan ($48) for medical expenses, nearly an average month's salary in China. The local government picked up the bill, the Shenzhen Daily reported.

Yanghe is in southern Shaanxi, about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southwest of Beijing and 375 miles (600 kilometers) southwest of the Taiyuan Launch Center in Shanxi province.

Last week, the official Xinhua news agency said the Ziyuan-2B separated from the rocket booster as expected shortly after the Taiyuan launch and is functioning well in orbit.

The Ziyuan-2B is remote sensing satellite that will be used for environmental monitoring, urban planning and disaster prevention.

A similar Ziyuan spacecraft went into orbit in September 2000 and is still operational, according to Xinhua.

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