“I ordered the Pentagon on Wednesday to take it down as soon as possible,” Biden told reporters earlier.
US President Joe Biden tonight congratulated the pilots who “successfully” shot down the Chinese balloon that had been flying in American airspace for several days.
“I ordered on Wednesday the Pentagon to shoot it down as soon as possible (…) I want to congratulate the pilots who did it,” Biden told reporters.
The Ministry of Defense had to wait until today for the balloon to be found in a safe place to proceed with this operation.
According to a senior Pentagon official, the balloon was shot down about six nautical miles off the US coast. It was hit by an AIM-9X missile fired from an F-22 fighter jet and there was no collateral damage or danger to civilians, he added.
The balloon entered US airspace on January 28, crossed into Canadian airspace on the 30th, and re-entered US airspace the following day.
The US military will seek to retrieve the balloon’s payload. According to an official, its debris is scattered over an area of seven miles.
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