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A suspected Chinese spy balloon is shot down off the coast of South Carolina

suspect Chinese spy balloon which had been drifting across the United States for several days was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.

The balloon was shot down by US fighter jets, in US airspace, just after 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, US officials confirmed to CBS News.

screenshots Subscribed on Twitter The balloon is seen falling from the sky.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement Saturday afternoon that Mr. Biden gave him permission on Wednesday “to lower the observation balloon as soon as the mission can be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon’s path.”

Officials had initially advised against dropping the balloon as it passed over the central part of the country because the falling debris could pose a danger to people on the ground. However, Saturday morning, Mr. Biden to reporters We will “take care” of the balloon.

On Saturday afternoon, Biden addressed the deflating of the balloon after it landed in Hagerstown, Maryland.

“They succeeded in clearing it, and I want to commend our pilots who did, and we’ll have more to report on in a bit,” he said.

CBS News also confirmed that two Navy ships, including the USS Carter Hall, which is equipped with a heavy rescue crane, are located near where the balloon fell.

American Chinese balloon correction
In this photo provided by Brian Branch, a large blimp drifts over Kingstown, North Carolina, with an airplane and its jets visible below it.

Bryan Branch/AP

The FAA closed the airspace and Issued ground stops at three airports In North and South Carolina on the Saturday afternoon before the operation.

Austin said the balloon-dropping mission was coordinated with the Canadian government.

“Today’s deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while effectively responding to the People’s Republic of China’s unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” said Austin. from China.

Chinese officials denied the airship was intended for surveillance, saying in a statement on Friday that it was a civilian device used in scientific research that had been derailed by unexpected winds.

Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat who serves on the Intelligence Committee, He praised the operation on Twitter Saturday afternoon, saying the United States can now “collect equipment and analyze technology” used by the Chinese government.

Defense officials previously told CBS News that the monitoring equipment attached to the balloon was the size of two to three school buses.

This is a developing story and will be updated.



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