U.S. Military Shoots Down Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon

By Bill Galluccio

February 4, 2023

F-15 Strike Eagle Fighter Plane firing missile
Photo: Getty Images

The United States military shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the Carolinas on Saturday (February 4). Before the balloon was shot down, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered a ground stop at airports in Wilmington, North Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They also closed off airspace in parts of North and South Carolina due to "national security initiatives" in the area.

Officials have not said how the balloon was taken down. Search, and recovery efforts are currently underway.

The suspected spy balloon was spotted earlier in the week flying across Canada and entering U.S. airspace in Montana.

China denied that the balloon was being used to gather intelligence on the U.S. and Canada.

"The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes," Beijing's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The discovery of the balloon prompted Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to cancel his high-stakes trip to China to discuss the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine with top Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping.

Video captured the moment a fighter jet fired a missile and destroyed the balloon.

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