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US releases photo of Chinese ‘spy balloon’ taken by pilot before it was shot down

The US government released a photo showing a Chinese surveillance balloon that was taken from the cockpit of an American spy aircraft before it was destroyed.

The U-2 reconnaissance plane pilot took the picture on February 3, 2012. You can see the shadow of the plane on the large balloon carrying a satellite above Montana in the center United States.

After the balloon had crossed the country, it was first spotted by the US team on 28 January. The military then shot down the balloon off the coast South Carolina.

The aircraft flew over several sensitive military sites before this.


Crews were able to retrieve significant amounts of debris at the spot where the balloon fell after it was shot down. This included “all of the priority sensors and electronics pieces as well as large sections” of the structure.

After shooting down the Chinese spy balloon, and three other unidentified objects within the same time period, the US Defense Department released this image Wednesday.

After public speculation about extraterrestrial activity, the White House denied any connection.

According to Pentagon officials, there is no precedent for shooting down spy balloons in peacetime.

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The moment’spy ball’ is deflated

These incidents have sparked simmering tensions between the United States of China. Beijing denied that it used spy balloons, and said the craft was for weather research.

China accused Washington then of sending its own spy balloons above its territory. The US denied this accusation.

Image: US Navy sailors rescue the balloon from the coast of South Carolina. Pic by Associated Press
Image The balloon and other unidentified objects were dropped

Continue reading:

A timeline showing where fighter jets have taken down unidentified aircraft this month

What is a spy balloon and how can they help in aerial reconnaissance?

As relations fell, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cancelled his planned trip to China following the four incidents.

After Mr Wang had accused Washington of being “hysterical”, he met Wang Yi on the sidelines at a Munich global security conference.

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A gathering of world leaders was told by Mr Yang that President Biden had a “misguided” perception of Beijing.

He also accused the US of trying “smear” China in order to “divert focus from its domestic problems”.


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