Video shows moment Chinese 'spy' balloon is shot down
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Featured Image Credit: Twitter/ @latestinspace
The US military have shot down the alleged Chinese ‘spy’ balloon, which has been seen floating across the States in recent days.
Earlier today, the Department of Defence confirmed that it had sent a fighter jet to bring the balloon down over the Atlantic.
Before being shot down, the device had been seen lurking near key American military sites.
The footage shows the balloon, which can be seen as a tiny white dot, falling from the sky.
Moments before shot down, viewers can see vapour trails from the AIM-9X Sidewinder missile as it finally brings down the device.
Despite this occurring roughly six miles off the US coast, several members of the public were still able to record the moment the balloon was shot down by a F-22 fighter jet.
Estimated to be the size of three buses, officials have collected the majority of the debris of the 47ft (14m) balloon, which landed near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Two naval ships are still combing a seven-mile (11km) area for any remaining parts of the balloon.
President Biden had approved the plan to shoot down the device when officials began tracking it on Thursday – not long after the balloon first appeared on social media.
However, the authorities waited to shoot the device over water to ensure the public were not put at risk.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also paused all civilian flights in the area, because of the ‘national security effort’.
In a statement, the Pentagon said: " While we took all necessary steps to protect against the PRC [China] surveillance balloon's collection of sensitive information, the surveillance balloon's overflight of US territory was of intelligence value to us.”
They added: "We were able to study and scrutinise the balloon and its equipment, which has been valuable.”
President Biden later commented on the takedown, saying: "They successfully took it down, and I want to compliment our aviators who did it."
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have denied the device was a spying aircraft, stating that it was a weather balloon that had been blown off course due to bad weather.
Their foreign minister later expressed his ‘strong dissatisfaction’ and condemned the ‘US's use of force to attack civilian unmanned aircraft’.
They said: "The Chinese side has repeatedly informed the US side after verification that the airship is for civilian use and entered the US due to force majeure - it was completely an accident."
However, the appearance of the balloon has resulted in the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, calling off his schedule diplomatic trip to China, calling it an 'irresponsible act'.