U.S. President Joe Biden (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
After speaking with a reporter on Saturday regarding an action plan for the Chinese “surveillance balloon” first spotted in U.S. airspace early this week, President Joe Biden stated “We’re gonna take care of it.” And hours later, a U.S. military aircraft did just that.
According to AP News, the balloon was shot down on Saturday afternoon off the Carolina coast and an operation was deployed shortly after to clear the area below of any resulting debris.
In footage shared to Twitter by Open Source Intelligence Monitor, they detail that it appears as though “a missile fired from one of the F-22s is what was used to shoot down the Chinese High-Altitude Surveillance Balloon.”
In the AP’s report they state that the balloon “had been flying at about 60,000 feet and was estimated to be about the size of three school buses.”
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In a statement obtained from NBC after the balloon was shot down, Biden spoke of the strategy leading up to the event saying “They decided — without doing damage to anyone on the ground — they decided that the best time to do that was when it got over water. They successfully took it down and I want to compliment our aviators who did it. And we’ll have more to report on this a little later.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who had announced yesterday that there was a briefing scheduled for next week with leaders from the House and Senate on the intelligence committees to discuss the balloon, gave a statement of his own on Saturday saying “I strongly condemn President Xi’s brazen incursion into American airspace, and I commend President Biden’s leadership in taking down the Chinese balloon over water to ensure safety for all Americans. Now we can collect the equipment and analyze the technology used by the CCP.”
By Kelly McClure
Kelly McClure is a journalist and fiction writer who lives in New Orleans. She is Salon’s Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere and the co-host of The Antler Queens podcast
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