Myanmar investigates mysterious space debris in jade mining area
Acres of forest have been felled, leaving behind craters, barren cliffs and a web of dirt tracks in the once-picturesque Kachin hills as the Chinese firms that dominate the jade business step up mining and aggressively seek new concessions. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

A mysterious metal object resembling a mangled aircraft engine descended on a jade mine in a Myanmar village on Friday, shaking the surroundings and sounding like an explosion.

The large barrel-shaped object is thought to be a part of a Chinese satellite or an aircraft, according to initial examinations conducted by local officials. The air in the area where the debris fell smelled acrid and the object looked like it had burnt through, Myanmar Times reported, citing local people.

The 15-foot long object with a 3-foot diameter fell in a jade mine in the Kachin State's Hpakant township. "Every local thought it was the explosion of heavy artillery ... I walked over to it and saw it was part of an engine," a villager named Ko Maung Myo told the daily. "I think it was an engine because I found a diode and many copper wires at the tail of the body ... It also looks like a jet engine block," he added.

However, a former engineer with the Myanmar government's civil aviation department said the object may not be an aircraft engine but more likely a rocket booster used in satellite launches.

No injuries were reported, though the object fell in an area where mine workers had pitched up tents.

"Experts are there checking it ... They also assumed that it was part of some aircraft or rocket," said Kachin State government deputy director U Zaw Myo Nyunt.

Hpakant township is the main jade mining area in northern Myanmar, which supplies jade stones worth several billion dollars to China.