Breaking: A massive Chinese rocket that was hurtling to Earth out of control, has landed in the Indian Ocean over the Maldives.
The rocket was only 12-minutes from coming down over the Perth region had it survived in the atmosphere just a little longer.
The rocket was on a direct path to Perth and SW Western Australia, models showed. As real-time information was relayed Sunday morning, observers noted it was about 10 minutes away from flying directly over our city, before data suddenly stopped returning.
The rocket appears to have broken up and landed on the Maldives islands region, south west of India and Sri Lanka.
Chinese government sources said the rocket fell at 2.24 UTC (about 10.24am Perth time Sunday) around 72.47E 2.65N – right over the Maldives.
The 23 ton CZ5B rocket was part of a Chinese Space Station mission. The huge chunk of debris was always a risk of coming back to earth and threatening population centres.
The Chinese government is due to launch many more similar rockets, in what space commentators and experts called “reckless” and “dangerous”.
Earlier, space commentator Jonathan McDowell who had been tracking the rocket for days, said it was on a trajectory to pass Perth, Western Australia.
Had the rocket re-entered over Perth it would have been a massive story, bigger than the famous SkyLab incident of 1979 – when the US space station fell over the WA South Coast.
CNN Breaking News Coverage: Long march 5 Rocket Lands in Indian Ocean
Updates to come