Home / News / World /  Watch: Here's how US aircraft shot down Chinese ‘spy’ balloon

Videos have emerged on social media that how US military fighter jet shot down the suspected "Chinese spy balloon" off the coast of South Carolina on Sunday.

Multiple fighter and refueling aircraft were involved in the mission, but only one -- an F-22 fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia -- took the shot at 2:39 pm (around 12 am IST), using a single AIM-9X supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile.

The balloon appeared to disintegrate in a white puff before its remnants dropped vertically into the ocean below.

An eyewitness said no boats appeared to be in the water beneath the balloon as the wreckage fell, but several aircraft arrived soon after. US officials tried to time the operation so they could recover as much debris as possible before it sinks.

China said it was a weather research vessel blown off course, a claim rejected by US officials who said the craft had been over areas of Montana where nuclear missiles are siloed.

The balloon first entered US airspace in Alaska on 28 January before moving into Canadian airspace on Monday, 30 January. It then re-entered US airspace over northern Idaho on 31 January, a US defense official said. Once it crossed over US land, it did not return to the open waters, making a shootdown difficult.

Meanwhile, China has reacted strongly against the US downing the balloon. The use of force against the balloon, which China said is for civilian use and entered the US accidentally, was an “obvious overreaction" and violated international standard practices, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden, who earlier Saturday had promised "to take care" of the balloon, congratulated the fighter pilots involved.

"They successfully took it down. And I want to compliment our aviators who did it," Biden said.

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