The suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down by the US over the weekend is 60 meters (200 feet) tall, the equivalent of a 20-story building.
The balloon also carries a payload similar in size to a commercial aircraft, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Commander Glenn Van Heek told reporters.
It likely weighed around 71 pounds (1,000 pounds), he added.
this Balloon shot down by missile Pentagon officials said Sunday that an F-22 fighter jet opened fire about 6 nautical miles off the coast near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Television footage showed a small explosion before the balloon descended toward the water.
According to NBC, the height of the balloon, twice the size of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree — and the payload — were factors in the “decision-making process” of waiting and shooting down the object until it flew across the Atlantic.
Pentagon officials said they were concerned the debris could cause civilian casualties or property damage. Another concern, Mr VanHerck added, was that the balloon might have been carrying explosives.
Safe Zones Enforced in South Carolina Waters
The U.S. Coast Guard established a temporary “safe zone” in waters off the coast of South Carolina on Monday as a result of the military’s search and recovery of the wreckage.
A White House spokesman said officials hoped to gain valuable intelligence about the balloon’s operation by retrieving as many parts as possible.
China insists balloons are used for weather and other scientific research and was blown off course.
In a statement on Sunday, China’s foreign ministry called the shooting an “obvious overreaction” in a “serious violation of international conventions”.
It warned of “serious repercussions”, while the White House said balloon flights over the US would do nothing to improve already strained relations with China.
What are “spy balloons” and what do they do?
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“Balloon Watch” gimmick aside, it’s a deadly serious moment for the U.S. and China
China apologizes for balloon over Costa Rica
Another balloon was spotted over Latin America after it was “seriously deviated” and affected by the weather, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Mao Ning said in a statement.
The Chinese embassy in San Jose “apologised” for the incident, while insisting the balloon was focused on scientific research, according to a brief statement from Costa Rica’s foreign ministry.
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The aircraft was notified at that time, but no further action was taken, according to the director general of the Civil Aviation Authority.