US military has shot down the Chinese spy balloon off US East Coast, US official says
U.S. military shoots down Chinese surveillance balloon
- The U.S. military on Saturday shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon, according to NBC News.
- The FAA issued a ground stop in parts of North Carolina and South Carolina on Saturday afternoon “to support the Department of Defense in a national security effort.”
- The high-altitude balloon was initially spotted over Billings, Montana, on Wednesday.
- China’s Foreign Ministry said Friday that the balloon was a civilian weather airship intended for scientific research that was blown off course. This claim was summarily dismissed by U.S. officials.
Department of Defense officials have not yet confirmed the balloon being shot down.
The high-altitude balloon, which is estimated to be the size of three school busses, was floating over U.S. territorial waters when it was taken down. TV footage shows the balloon bursting in a small explosion before falling into the water. Officials will attempt to recover the debris, according to NBC News.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop in parts of North Carolina and South Carolina and closed additional airspace on Saturday afternoon. The departures were paused “to support the Department of Defense in a national security effort,” a representative told CNBC.
President Joe Biden broke his silence about the balloon for the first time Saturday, telling a group of reporters, “We’re going to take care of it.” by Ashley Capoot
The US military has shot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, a US official said Saturday.
The spy balloon was first spotted in the sky over Montana earlier this week and traveled across the middle of the country following weather patterns before it exited the continental United States on Saturday.
Prior to the balloon being shot down, the Federal Aviation Administration had issued a ground stop for airports in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Charleston and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. The FAA also restricted airspace near Myrtle Beach “to support the Defense Department in a national security effort.”
Top military officials had advised against shooting down the balloon while over the continental US because of the risk the debris could pose to civilians and property on the ground, but officials had maintained that all options remained on the table.
Earlier Saturday, President Joe Biden had told reporters in Syracuse, New York, that his administration was “gonna take care” of the suspected Chinese spy balloon when asked by CNN if the US would shoot it down. He had been discussing options with top military officials since first being briefed on the balloon on Tuesday.
On Friday, the Pentagon said the balloon did not pose a military or physical threat. A defense official told CNN that US Northern Command was coordinating with NASA to determine the debris field if the balloon was to be shot down.
China’s Foreign Ministry has said the balloon entered US airspace by accident. But the State Department has said the presence of the balloon in US airspace was “a clear violation of our sovereignty as well as international law, and it is unacceptable that this has occurred.”
The discovery of the balloon prompted US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to postpone his highly anticipated diplomatic visit to China, saying the incident “created the conditions that undermine the purpose of the trip.” source
Chinese spy balloon – live: US shoots down balloon off Carolina coast and begins to recover debris
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The US military has shot down the suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast.
This comes as the airspace along the coast of North and South Carolina had been closed amid the national security operation.
US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that President Joe Biden had given the green light for the operation to go ahead.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a ground stop affecting three airports in North and South Carolina as the balloon drifts through its airspace, a spokesperson said.
“The FAA has paused departures to Wilmington (ILM), Myrtle Beach International (MYR) and Charleston International (CHS) airports to support the Department of Defense in a national security effort,” the statement said.
The balloon is suspected of having conducted spying activities on the US military.
Four US officials said earlier that the plan was to bring it down over the ocean to recover remnants of the balloon, the Associated Press reported.
Planes were seen circling the balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on Saturday afternoon before it was brought down. source