A Chinese spy balloon was flying above the US’s airspace. The US shot it down.
Television footage showed the small explosion and the balloon falling toward the ocean off the Carolina coast.
Officials from the Pentagon said that the balloon was brought down by a missile fired off by an F-22 fighter plane, six miles offshore of Myrtle Beach.
To aid in the recovery effort, ships were placed on the water.
The US President Joe Biden stated that he would like the balloon to be brought down Wednesday, but was told by his advisors that it would be best to do the operation when the balloon was above water.
Mr Biden stated that “they successfully took it down” and that he wanted to compliment the aviators who did it.
According to a US defense official, the aircraft was a spy balloon and China planned to use it at sensitive military sites.
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China argued that the balloon was being used for meteorological research and other scientific purposes and that it had been lost.
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.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry stated that the shooting was an “obvious reaction” and “seriously violated international norms”.
It stated that China would stand firm in upholding the legitimate rights and interests of the company and reserve the right to take further action as a result.
How did the US bring the’spy ball’ down?
A military fighter jet from Langley, Virginia shot the balloon down at 2:39 p.m. local time.
One missile was fired by the fighter jet into the balloon. It crashed into the ocean.
A senior US official stated that “this was the first chance to successfully bring the balloon down without posing any threat to civilians”.
Officials stated that they believed the balloon was “seeking sensitive sights” and would “seek it out” to retrieve it.
The balloon flew between 60,000 and 65,000 feet.
According to US officials, the debris covered seven miles.
After it was again spotted over North Carolina on Saturday, Mr Biden warned that the US was “going take care” of the craft.
Due to the dangers of falling debris, the US had hesitated before to shoot the balloon.
The Federal Aviation Administration stated that flights had been halted at three airports, including Myrtle Beach International Airport, South Carolina, ahead of the operation. This was due to a “national security initiative”.
The US and China have been at odds over the discovery of the balloon, resulting in tensions and a diplomatic dispute.
This caused Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, to cancel his trip to Beijing.