A Chinese spy balloon was flying above the US’s airspace. The US shot it down.
Television footage showed a small explosion followed by the balloon falling toward the sea – just off the Carolina coast.
US military aircraft were seen flying in the area, and ships were placed in the water to support the recovery operation.
Officials aimed to time the operation in a way that would allow them to recover as much debris as possible before it sinks into ocean.
After it was again spotted over North Carolina on Saturday, President Joe Biden warned that the US was going to “take care” of the craft.
Due to the dangers of falling debris, the US had hesitated before to shoot the balloon.
Several airports were closed in advance of the operation.
The US and China have been at odds over the discovery of the balloon, resulting in tensions and a diplomatic dispute.
The US claims that the craft is a spy balloon and has violated its sovereignty.
China claimed it was used for meteorological research and other scientific research.
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It is believed that the object flew over the Aleutian Islands off the coast Alaska and through Canada before entering the US earlier in the week.
According to the Pentagon, it is capable of operating at 60,000 feet and can be maneuvered.