Americans claimed to have seen the massive Chinese balloon that was suspected of conducting surveillance as it floated over the Southern United States on Saturday. It was shot out of the sky over the Atlantic Ocean many hours later.
The moment the balloon appeared to be hit and started to descend toward the water was captured on television.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated in a statement that the balloon was brought down after entering American territorial seas. According to American officials, it contained a significant cargo of surveillance equipment and had flown over several critical locations, including nuclear missile silos, as it crossed a sizable portion of the United States.
People had earlier in the day recorded the trajectory of the balloon using smartphones and expert cameras. This week, the balloon was seen over Montana.
China’s balloon being shot down is captured on video
It appears from television footage and eyewitness accounts that shots were fired at the spy balloon by aircraft over the Atlantic. Debris was shown gently falling toward the water after a little explosion.
Ships were placed in the ocean to mount the recovery mission, while American military jets were seen flying nearby.
Senior Pentagon officials briefing journalists on the condition of anonymity stated that when the balloon passed the South Carolina coastline, F-22 fighters from Virginia and F-15s from Massachusetts were scrambled to bring it down. At 2:39 PM EDT, a single AIM 9X sidewinder air-to-air missile was launched and hit the balloon, according to officials.
A salvage ship and divers will look into the comparatively shallow place where the debris landed in the coming days because it is only 47 feet under the surface. A 7-mile radius could be affected by debris scatter. Neither individuals nor vessels were hit.
The Chinese balloon: what was it doing?
According to the Pentagon press secretary, Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the balloon was a “high-altitude surveillance balloon.”
U.S. authorities disagree with China’s claim that it was a weather research “airship” that veered off course. According to Ryder, this is not the first time China has attempted to gather private data.
Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been seen in the past few years, according to Ryder. The American authorities took quick action to prevent the collection of sensitive information as soon as the balloon was discovered.
Reports of a second balloon traveling over Latin America were also confirmed by the Pentagon.
Where was the balloon seen by people?
On Saturday, the balloon was seen drifting east over the Carolinas on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Just before 9 a.m. on Saturday, University of North Carolina at Asheville atmospheric sciences major Evan Fisher took pictures of what he described as a “pretty huge” balloon. To catch the finer details of the balloon, he utilized a professional camera with a zoom lens.
As a meteorologist, Fisher said, “I’m used to weather balloons, so I’m familiar with 12- to 18-foot-wide balloons. But the fact that this thing is three school buses wide blew me away.”
Amy Ostrosky, a resident of Cornelius, about 20 miles north of Charlotte, who works in digital marketing, claimed that she and other neighbors hurried outdoors early on Saturday to see what they believed to be a balloon. She described it as appearing larger than a bright star in the sky.
Ostrosky expressed her discomfort with the entire situation: “Why is it needed? What does it do? How did it get here?”
Pentagon: Chinese spy balloon is seen over American airspace
WATERLOO – Pentagon officials have contemplated shooting down a Chinese spy balloon that has been observed drifting over the northern United States, Defense Department officials said late Thursday.
According to a senior Defense Department official who briefed reporters under the condition of anonymity, the decision was reached not to shoot down the balloon due to worries that debris could harm Americans on the ground or destroy property.
According to the official, the balloon was over Montana when the United States thought about destroying it. According to the authority, if it posed a threat to civil aviation, it would be shot down. It is circling at a height where those aircraft cannot fly.
Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, informed reporters that “the United States government has spotted and is following a high-altitude surveillance balloon that is traveling above the continental United States at this time.” According to Ryder, it is still being closely tracked and observed by the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
The official claimed that the balloon is intended for spying. It is probably unable to gather any more data than spy satellites can.
According to Ryder, American authorities worked to stop the Chinese from gathering sensitive data. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been seen in the past few years, according to Ryder. The American authorities took quick action to prevent the collection of sensitive information as soon as the balloon was discovered.
According to the individual, American officials have raised concerns with Chinese authorities about the surveillance balloon’s intrusion and are still monitoring its course. The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Gen. Mark Milley, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have both received briefings on the balloon, the official added.
According to the official, Chinese surveillance balloons have flown over the United States before.
Spy balloons refer to balloons equipped with cameras or other surveillance equipment that are used for intelligence-gathering purposes. They can be used for military reconnaissance, monitoring borders, or surveillance of certain areas. They can provide real-time aerial footage and can be useful in situations where manned aircraft may be too risky or expensive to deploy. However, their use raises privacy concerns as they can easily collect data on individuals and communities without their knowledge or consent.
Spy balloons are part of a growing trend toward the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance purposes. They can be equipped with a variety of cameras, sensors, and communication equipment, and can be deployed for extended periods. They can also be equipped with AI systems to process the data they collect in real-time. The use of spy balloons can be controversial, as they have the potential to infringe on people’s privacy, especially if they are used to collect sensitive information. Governments, military organizations, and corporations have used spy balloons for various purposes, leading to increased public debate about the ethical and legal implications of their use.