Chinese spy balloon allegedly shot down off South Carolina

Suspect chinese spy balloon After adrift in the United States for several days, it was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.

The balloon was shot down by a US fighter jet in US airspace shortly after 2:30 pm US Eastern time on Saturday, US officials confirmed to CBS News.

picture share on twitter A balloon falling from the sky.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement Saturday afternoon that Mr Biden “will deploy surveillance balloons as soon as they are able to carry out their mission without undue risk to the lives of Americans under the balloon’s path” on Wednesday. He said he had given him the authority to shoot down.

Officials had initially advised against shooting down the balloon as it crossed the center of the country because falling debris could pose a danger to people on the ground. teeth told reporters It means “taking care of” the balloon.

On Saturday afternoon, Mr. Biden spoke of the operation to lower the balloon after it landed in Hagerstown, Maryland.

“They successfully took it down. I want to salute the aviators who did it. We’ll have to report on this a bit later,” he said.

CBS News also confirmed that two warships, including the USS Carter Hall with a heavy recovery crane, were near where the balloon went down.

correction usa china balloon
In this photo, courtesy of Brian Branch, a large balloon hovers over Kingstown, North Carolina, with an airplane and its contrail below.

Brian Branch / AP

Federal Aviation Administration closes airspace Ground stops announced at three airports Saturday afternoon before the operation in North and South Carolina. Flight resumed shortly after the balloon was lowered.

Austin said the mission to shoot down the balloon was carried out in cooperation with the Canadian government.

“Today’s deliberate and lawful actions ensure that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first, while effectively responding to China’s unacceptable violation of its sovereignty. ‘,’ said Austin, using the acronym for People’s Republic of China.

Chinese officials denied the balloon was for surveillance purposes, saying in a statement on Friday that it was a civilian device used for scientific research and was pushed off course by unexpected winds.

Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who serves on the Intelligence Committee, said: Praise the operation on Twitter On Saturday afternoon, the United States said it was now able to “collect equipment and analyze technology” used by the Chinese government.

A defense official previously told CBS News that the monitoring device attached to the balloon was the size of two or three school buses.

This is a developing story and will be updated. Chinese spy balloon allegedly shot down off South Carolina

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