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US shoots down suspected Chinese spy balloon off South Carolina coast


The US has shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that has flown across America in the past week. Three airports were closed and airspace was shut down off the South Carolina coast as US military planes targeted the object over the Atlantic Ocean.

According to the AP news agency, footage showed the balloon falling to the sea after a small explosion. US President Joe Biden faced intense pressure to shoot it down since it first appeared across the US last week.

Tracking website Flightradar24 showed US Air Force and Coastguard aircraft operating in the skies between Wilmington, North Carolina, and Myrtle Beach. The coast guard had also advised mariners to leave the area due to military operations that presented a significant hazard, reported the Associated Press.

The news agency, quoting unnamed officials, said President Biden had given the go ahead to bring the balloon down over the Atlantic Ocean, where debris can be retrieved. The balloon's arrival over the US comes amid fraying tensions between Washington and Beijing, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling off a trip to Beijing over the matter.

In another development, the US reported a second Chinese balloon floating over Latin America on Friday. China, which has expressed regret over the incident, said that it had never violated the territory and airspace of any sovereign country. (AIR NEWS)

45 Days ago