Whapmagoostui. June 27th. The sky turns black, thunder and lightning strikes. Through the clouds comes the fireball. It disappears behind the horizon, then the fireball strikes with a loud bang and flash.

The Inuit hunters who were five miles north of Ground Zero thought that Whapmagoostui was hit. They radioed in to make sure Whapmagoostui was still on the map. Ground Zero, Kaamkopskaatch Siibii, is located 10 miles north of Whapmagoostui.

The Inuit hunters were the closest witnesses to the impact of the fireball. They had gone on a hunting trip and passed by the site on Friday the 27th. When they returned on Monday the 30th, a new bay had been carved out of the shoreline in front of Moses Sandy’s hunting cabins.

An employee from the Whapmagoostui Nation office said, “People are still in awe,” she said. “They are still going there to check it out.

Josie George, who is the Public Safety Officer, said no official word has been issued from the Band Council pending tests to be conducted by NASA divers, who are coincidentally conducting tests on Crater Lake further north.

Lloyd Cheechoo, executive director of the James Bay Cree Communications Society, went to visit the site and said it was “amazing.” He hired a canoe to go there. “Floating over Ground Zero was eerie, I could see the rim and the black hole.”

Cheechoo said the crater was as big as a house, and the whole area affected had about a quarter-mile radius. Debris was discovered three miles out on an ice floe. Cheechoo said the Elders in the area told him of similar meteorite hits in years gone by.

Sam Cox of Chisasibi visited the site on July 9th and described it as a “big hole in the ground” with the trees floating around as if someone had scrunched them up and thrown them into the water.

Geologists from the Centre d’Études Nordiques, affiliated with Laval University who have an office in Whapmagoostui, offer a more mundane explanation. They offered the scenario of a so-called sinkhole or landslide.

However, many other reports of fireballs plunging towards Earth, keep coming in. Anthony Ittoshat, Mayor of Kuujjuuarapik, says he also saw a “fireball” falling towards the site. But he says his sighting was at 7 to 8 p.m. the 22nd of June. Ittoshat was at the ball field at the time for the St. John the Baptist baseball game.

This raises the possibility of two separate meteors. There are also reports of two separate tremours at the time. The Geological Survey of Canada confirms that a “perturbance” was recorded at 7:52-7:55 p.m on June 22 at its seismograph located at LG-4, 210 kilometres away. Another tremour was felt in the Puvirnituq area. In fact, fireballs were reported on four different days: June 22, 24, 27 and July 4.

Geologists are stumped by the cause of the tremours, but say weather is probably responsible. They are downplaying the bizarre events. The new 350-metre-long by 150-metre-wide bay is open to debate as to how it was carved out. Unless you saw little green men crawling out of the hole, you can write off the alien ship theory.

Ittoshat also visited the crater. “Awesome” is how he described it. “There’s no other way to describe it. There’s got to be a lot of power there.” He is convinced it was created by a fireball. “You call that a landslide… Geez.”

In a canoe, he used his depthsounder to measure the floor of the bay. It has the dimensions of a crater, shallow around the rim and gradually getting deeper toward the middle at a 45-degree angle. In the middle is a hole that drops off suddenly and looks pitch black from the surface. Its depth is 33 feet. It appears like a chunk of the former beach is ripped away and a cliff now juts out of the water 10 to 20 feet high.

The geologists do agree on one thing. A meteor that size hits the Earth only once in 100 or even 1,000 years.