Sunday, 5 February 2023

US Airports suspend flights as country shoots down Chinese balloon

                              HAPPENING NOW

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has paused departures and arrivals to and from three US airports to support the Department of Defense in a national security effort to take down a Chinese spy balloon.

On Saturday, (Sunday Australian Time) the FAA announced it had paused departures and arrivals from Wilmington International Airport (ILM/KILM), Myrtle Beach International (MYR/KMYR), and Charleston International Airport (CHS/KCHS). The flights were suspended at these airports as the country reportedly prepares to shoot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon. The FAA was also rerouting air traffic from the area and warned of delays as a result of the flight restrictions.

Earlier today, President Joe Biden said the US is “going to take care of” the alleged Chinese spy balloon that has been flying over US airspace and adding further pressure on the already tense US-China relations. According to the Associated Press, the president plans to shoot down the balloon once it is above the Atlantic Ocean. The goal is to recover the remnants of the balloon which was spotted Saturday morning over the Carolinas.

The balloon was shot down on Saturday afternoon local time 6 nautical miles (11 kilometres) off the coast near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, senior US defence officials said. The balloon had been flying at about 60,000 feet and was estimated to be about the size of three school buses.

Crowds lining the shoreline in Myrtle Beach cheered as a missile from an F-22 fighter struck the balloon, which quickly deflated and plummeted to the ocean.

US officials tried to time the operation so they could recover as much debris as possible before it sank. With multiple aircraft in the sky, the US military immediately began securing a perimeter around the downed balloon, with the wreckage spread over an 11km radius.

A recovery operation began, including several ships, with the debris landing in relatively shallow water about 14 metres deep.

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