Videos of Chinese Spy Balloon Being Shot Down Go Viral

Multiple clips purporting to show the destruction of the Chinese spy balloon have surfaced on social media, with some garnering millions of views in a matter of hours.

The strange craft was first spotted over Billings, Montana, on Wednesday, eventually being identified as a surveillance balloon owned by China. Despite initial outcry over its presence in U.S. airspace, the Pentagon and the White House declined to shoot it down immediately due to the potential threat of debris falling from the sky.

On Saturday afternoon, however, reports emerged that President Joe Biden was working on a plan to down the balloon once it was over water. These plans were seemingly confirmed, as the Associated Press confirmed that the craft had been taken down by an F-22 fighter jet around 2:40 p.m. ET, six nautical miles off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

spy balloon destruction videos
Above, a photo of President Joe Biden addressing the destruction of the Chinese spy balloon after arriving at a Maryland airport. Multiple videos surfaced on Twitter purporting to show the downed balloon. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

As the news began to spread, multiple clips surfaced on Twitter showing the moment that the balloon was shot out of the sky. One clip, shared to Twitter by photographer Michael Steinberg, came from a live news broadcast and showed the precise moment the balloon exploded in the sky near Myrtle Beach. As of Saturday evening, it has been viewed nearly 2.5 million times.

Another video, shot by Twitter user Devon Pace, captured the moment of impact from ground as well as the trail of the fighter jet that carried out the attack. Shortly after the destruction, the sound of shockwave can seemingly be heard. Around three hours after it was initially posted, the video was viewed over 1.4 million times.

Another clip, shared by former media executive Mike Sington, featured the sounds of onlookers cheering the balloon's destruction, with one person audibly shouting, "They got the balloon!" The clip has so far garnered over 200,000 views.

Efforts to recover the balloon's debris began shortly after it was shot down. While an official timetable estimate has not been given, recovery is expected to be quick as the balloon was shot down over water that is only around 47 feet deep.

Speaking to reporters following the successful takedown, Biden said that he first ordered the balloon to be shot down when it was spotted on Wednesday. His advisors ultimately decided to wait until it was over the ocean due to safety concerns.

"I ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down on Wednesday as soon as possible," Biden said. "They decided—without doing damage to anyone on the ground—they decided that the best time to do that was when it got over water," he said. "Within the 12 mile limit, they successfully took it down, and I want to compliment our aviators who did it."

When reached for comment by Newsweek for comment on the balloon's destruction, the Pentagon referred to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's official statement.

"The balloon, which was being used by the [People's Republic of China] in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above U.S. territorial waters," Austin said. "We thank Canada for its contribution to tracking and analysis of the balloon through [North American Aerospace Defense Command] as it transited North America. Today's deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC's unacceptable violation of our sovereignty."

Updated 02/05/2023, 6:03 p.m. ET: This article was updated to reflect a response from the Department of Defense.