US releases pilot’s close-up photo of Chinese balloon


South Carolina
A US Air Force U-2 pilot had a close encounter with a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon. (Photo: US Defence Department)

A U-2 pilot flying high above the Chinese spy balloon captured a close-up image of the enormous white orb a day before the air force shot it off the coast of South Carolina.

The photograph depicts the top of the pilot's helmet in the cockpit of a U-2 aircraft, with a balloon hovering below.

According to the caption provided by the US Defense Department, it was captured on February 3 while the balloon "soared over the Central Continental United States."

The military published the image on Wednesday (local time), more than two weeks after the balloon made news internationally while transiting the United States.

The balloon was shot down by an F-22 fighter jet armed with an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile on February 4.

Once the balloon was no longer above land but still within US territorial seas, the strike occurred.

The U-2 Dragon Lady is an American high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft in service since the 1950s.

The Pentagon announced on Friday that navy ships and submersibles had successfully recovered the enormous balloon and its cargo from the Atlantic Ocean.

According to a Wednesday statement from Military spokeswoman Sabrina Singh, the payload was recovered from the ocean floor and was being analyzed by the FBI.

The incident led to the destruction of three smaller objects by air force planes within eight days: one over Alaska, one over Canada, and one over Lake Huron.

The search for objects in Alaska and Lake Huron has concluded.

Publish : 2023-02-23 07:52:00

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