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Watch: US fighter jet shoots down China’s spy balloon

Screengrab from the video

The video shows China’s spy balloon being shot down by a US military warplane over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern coast of the United States on Saturday.

An F-22 fighter jet took the shot at 2:39 p.m. using a single AIM-9X supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile, a senior US military official said.

A Reuters photographer who witnessed the shootdown said a stream came from a jet and hit the balloon, but there was no explosion. It then began to fall, the photographer said.

Pentagon officials said, the spy balloon was targeted off the coast of the southeastern state of South Carolina with a missile fired from an F-22 plane. The balloon then fell into relatively shallow water just 47 feet deep.

The operation was worked out to allow the authorities to collect the fallen debris from US territorial waters. Recovery efforts began shortly after the balloon was downed, an official said.

Saturday afternoon was the military’s first chance to take down the balloon “in a way that would not pose a threat to the safety of Americans,” a senior defense official told reporters.