The US Air Force shot down the Chinese 'spy balloon'

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The balloon spotted by the Americans was shot down by the Air Force on Saturday mid-afternoon.

The United States Air Force on Saturday shot down the Chinese “spy balloon” which had been flying over United States territory for several days.

Images transmitted by several American media show the craft, a large white aircraft, bursting under the impact. A Reuters photographer in the Myrtle Beach area was able to see the balloon in the sky with two US military planes flying alongside it.

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Washington called the balloon a clear violation of US sovereignty.

Earlier in the day on Saturday, the Democratic president had indicated that he was “going to take care” of the ball. Asked if the ball was going to be downed, Mr. Biden gave the reporters a thumbs up.

The Biden administration closed part of the airspace on the east coast, in the North and South Carolina region, halting operations at three airports in the southeast of the country .

Beijing acknowledged that it was indeed a device from China, but assured that it was x27;a civilian aircraft, used for research purposes, mainly meteorological.

The craft would have deviated from its trajectory, added a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs foreign countries, expressing his country's regret for this unintentional violation of American airspace.

The balloon flew above the state of Montana (west), which houses nuclear missile silos, before moving east.

It has so far been decided not to to shoot down, due to the risks posed by possible debris for people on the ground, a senior Pentagon official had explained.

With information from Agence France-Presse