A suspected meteorite that landed on a cricket pitch was in fact a lump of concrete probably dislodged from the bottom of a passing aircraft, experts have concluded.
The lump of rock was initially thought to have been the first extra-terrestrial object to land on Britain for almost two decades.
Jan Marszal and Richard Haynes were watching Sussex play Middlesex at Uxbridge when the rock landed inside the boundary rope, split in two and popped up and hit Mr Marszal, a 51-year-old IT consultant, in the chest.
At the time he said: “It was travelling really fast.
“It was definitely not a stone thrown by a member of the crowd. It must have been part of a meteorite.
“We can’t think of anything else it could have been. It is a rocky type of substance.”
Such was the interest generated by their account that the pair even received a call from 87-year-old astronomy expert Sir Patrick Moore.
But on Thursday, Dave Harris of the British and Irish Meteorite Society revealed the rock did not appear to have fallen from space.
He said: “I’m afraid it’s nothing more than a piece of Portland cement with flecks of brick dust and flint in it.
“It is most probably something that fell off the undercarriage of a plane. It was not like a meteorite at all.”
The piece of cement was also sent to renowned planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger, the leader of the Beagle Mars lander project in 2003, who came to the same conclusion.
Mr Marszal said: “I had never seen a meteorite before so didn’t know what one looked like but it came down from the sky and I couldn’t think what else it could have been.
“I am disappointed but in some ways I glad it’s all over and we now know what it is.”