WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Saturday downed a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites across North America and became the latest flashpoint in tensions between Washington and Beijing.
An operation was underway in U.S. territorial waters to recover debris from the balloon, which had been flying at about 60,000 feet and was estimated to be about the size of three school buses.
Before the downing, President Joe Biden had said earlier Saturday, “We’re going to take care of it,” when asked by reporters about the balloon. The Federal Aviation Administration and Coast Guard worked to clear the airspace and water below.
Television footage showed a small explosion, followed by the balloon descending toward the water.
Associated Press writer Huizhong Wu in Taipei and researcher Henry Hou in Beijing contributed to this report.