Global News

Breaking news & current latest Canadian news headlines; national weather forecasts & predictions, local news videos, money and financial news; sports stats and scores.

Chinese balloon sparks curiosity, alarm from Americans below: ‘Needs to be removed’.

Click to play video: 'U.S. says shooting down Chinese surveillance balloon ‘was an option’ before it entered its airspace'

WATCH: U.S. says shooting down Chinese surveillance balloon 'was an option' before it entered its airspace

The Chinese balloon drifting high above the U.S. and first revealed over Montana has created a buzz down below among residents who initially wondered what it was — and now wonder what its arrival means amid a chorus of alarm raised by elected officials.

The balloon roiled diplomatic tensions as it continued to move over the central U.S. on Friday at 60,000 feet (18,288 meters). Secretary of State Antony Blinken abruptly canceled an upcoming trip to China.

Curiosity about the bobbling sky orb swept the internet, with search terms like “where is the spy balloon now?” and “spy balloon tracker” surging on Google. There is no such tracker just yet, but a couple St. Louis TV stations offered grainy live feeds of the balloon.

Internet users posted wobbly videos and photos of white splotches in comments sections and speculative feeds. And online storm chasers, more accustomed to tracking raging systems and funnel clouds, offered updates on the balloon’s path through cloudless skies.

In Montana — home to Malmstrom Air Force base and dozens of nuclear missile silos — people doubted Beijing’s claim that it was a weather balloon gone off course. And the governor and members of Congress pressed the Biden administration over why the military did not immediately bring it down from the sky.

“I question whether or not we would even found out about this if people hadn’t spotted it in Billings,” said Chase Doak, a resident of the southern Montana city who appears to have captured some of the first known video footage and photographs of the balloon.

“It needs to be removed from the sky somehow,” Doak added. “And if China is now taking responsibility, they need to answer for why it’s here in our airspace.”

A white balloon with what appeared to be a solar array hanging beneath it was seen over Billings Wednesday afternoon, around the same time the local airport was temporarily shut down and a day before the Pentagon said it was tracking a Chinese spy balloon over the state.

Initial speculation over its origins ranged from the foreign to the extra-terrestrial.

Todd Hewett of Billings said his 10-year-old son Matt saw the balloon and thought it was a comet he had been looking for. Hewett got some shaky footage, using a cellphone to take video through a telescope, and came away skeptical of the Chinese claim that it was a civilian weather balloon. He wanted the federal government to take action.

“Shoot it down,” he said. “If we could somehow pierce the bottom of it to allow some of the gas to escape to allow for a more controlled descent (that) would be nice .. but if we can’t do that … blow it up.”

Montana has some experience with balloons launched by adversaries: Japan in World War II targeted the western U.S. with incendiary “balloon bombs” that were floated over North America with plans to harm people and start forest fires. More than 30 of the bombs made of rice paper landed in Montana, according to the Montana Historical Society.

In Oregon, five children and a pregnant woman on a church picnic were killed in 1945 when they found one of the bombs and it exploded.

On Friday in Kansas City, Missouri, the National Weather Service said it received reports of a large balloon in the Kansas City metro area and posted two images of white orbs taken from the weather station office in Pleasant Hill, Missouri. The service confirmed it was not a National Weather Service balloon.

A graphic generated by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration online tool was eagerly shared on Facebook, showing the balloon’s trajectory sweep into the U.S. South.

Local National Weather Service offices were also prompted to chime in on Twitter, where locals asked whether the balloon was theirs. No, was their answer.

Tami Hansen, 44, saw the balloon overhead in Columbia, Missouri, and said she was not terribly concerned about the object flying over her city.

“I’ve heard all kinds of thoughts. Is it a spy balloon, is it a weather balloon? Who knows right now? It is what it is,” she said. “We really try not to get too political out here,” she said.

Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, who chairs the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said he would hold a hearing to get answers from the Biden administration. He called China’s actions “a clear threat.”

Rep. Ryan Zinke sent a poll to constituents early Friday saying the balloon was still over the state and asking if should be shot down. When the Pentagon said the balloon had since drifted over the central U.S., Zinke raised the possibility China had more than one balloon over the U.S..

“I don’t know if that’s the only balloon. We’ve asked for those answers,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. He said the balloon should have been shot down. “The message that it gives to our allies is, we’re not capable of dealing with a balloon,” he said.

Republicans in Montana have grown increasingly outspoken in recent years about China posing a threat to U.S. national security.

A bill pending before the state Legislature would ban “foreign adversaries” from owning, leasing or renting critical infrastructure or farmland. It’s Republican sponsor had singled out China as being interested in acquiring lands and resources in the U.S. to “help them with spying efforts.”

The heavy anti-China sentiment marks a shift from a just a few years ago, when Montana U.S. Sen. Steve Daines visited China, hosted the Chinese ambassador on a visit to a Montana ranch and helped secure a deal to export more beef to China.

The beef deal later fell through, and the Republican has transformed into a strong critic of China.

“This is not the first time a Chinese balloon has entered American airspace over sensitive national security areas,” Daines said in a Friday statement to the AP. “I don’t think anyone believes this was merely a civilian aircraft.”

ChinaBeijingchina spy balloonchinese spy balloonchina surveillance balloonChina BalloonMontana Spy Balloonspy balloon chinasurveillance balloonchinese balloon over usChinese spy balloon USSpy balloonspy balloon canadawhat is a spy balloon

Journalistic standards Report an error

© 2023 The Canadian Press

The use of plugins will help to optimize routine processes. Well, we will help in their search.
Останні новини
Slain NYC Army vet's mother calls out Alvin Bragg

Slain NYC Army vet's mother calls out Alvin Bragg

Madeline Brame, mother of Army Sgt. Hason Correa, who was murdered in NYC, sounds off on the disrespect D.A. Alvin Bragg’s office has shown crime victims on 'Cross Country.' #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News...

Watch live: Sophy Ridge on Sunday

Watch live: Sophy Ridge on Sunday

Sky's Sophy Ridge is joined by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove; shadow digital, culture, media and sport secretary Lucy Powell; the UNHCR's Vicky Tennant; trainee GP Dr Rob Laurenson; Scottish Greens MSP Lorna Slater; Conservative MP Laura Far...

Mexico, Beyond the Border with Eva Longoria

Mexico, Beyond the Border with Eva Longoria

In her new CNN series “Searching for Mexico,” ( actress and activist Eva Longoria goes on a journey across the country to trace her Mexican roots and explore the nation’s identity through its food. In today’s episode, we look back on her favorite ...

Inside Ukrainian artillery attack that blows up Russian positions in the east.

Inside Ukrainian artillery attack that blows up Russian positions in the east.

Ukrainian troops at an artillery position in a lush pine forest near the city of Kreminna in the eastern Luhansk region fired 155 mm rounds from a French TRF-1 howitzer towards a highway used as a supply road for the Russian-held stronghold of Kre...

Brian Kilmeade: Democrats get a virtual pass for their scandals.

Brian Kilmeade: Democrats get a virtual pass for their scandals.

Brian Kilmeade calls out the left's double standard, saying Hillary Clinton got a slap on the wrist for the fake dossier amid Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg's case against former President Donald Trump. Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video...

DW News livestream - Headline news from around the world.

DW News livestream - Headline news from around the world.

DW News goes deep beneath the surface, providing the key stories from Europe and around the world. Exciting reports and interviews from the worlds of politics, business, sports, culture and social media are presented by our DW anchors in 15-, 30- ...