US officials shot down the Chinese balloon that has been floating over the United States this week.
U.S. officials shot down the Chinese balloon that has been floating over the United States this week.
It came at the direction of President Biden, who authorized the move. Early Saturday he told reporters in Syracuse, New York, that he would “take care of it.”
On Saturday the balloon was over North Carolina, before officials shot it down over the Atlantic Ocean. It is reportedly the size of three school buses and also contained cargo, CNN reported.
Biden told reporters Saturday he authorized the Department of Defense to shoot it down on Wednesday, but there was concern that doing so over land could negatively impact civilians.
Initially, authorities advised against shooting down the balloon. The Pentagon first spotted it Tuesday over Montana, where it followed weather patterns and floated across the country.
Chinese officials said the balloon was actually a civilian weather observatory. But U.S. authorities refuted that claim. “We know that it’s a surveillance balloon.... We know this is a Chinese balloon and that it has the ability to maneuver,” Air Force Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told Scientific American.
In the wake of the discovery of the balloon, Secretary of State Antony Blinken delayed his visit to China this weekend– a trip meant to help ease tensions between the two countries.
The Navy and Coast Guard are reportedly on hand for any possible recovery efforts.