Government officials are intently monitoring the sizable Chinese surveillance balloon travelling over the United States that is thought to be from China. The white balloon, which China’s foreign ministry claims is used for meteorological research, is hovering at a height of about 60,000 feet and has a craft that is about the size of three buses. China has yet to comment publicly on the reported second balloon
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Where has the Chinese surveillance balloon been spotted so far?
U.S. officials claim that the balloon passed through western Alaska, the Aleutian Islands to the south, water into southwest Canada, and finally over Montana.
As the balloon travels southeast across the American continent, sightings have been increasing on social media. Around 4:21 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Reed Point, Montana, reported one of the early sightings that ABC News could confirm.
In Billings, Montana, east of Reed Point, it was shot at 6:46 p.m. ET, more than two hours later. Over the course of the following hour, it was visible in further footage over Billings as residents questioned what it was.
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According to American officials, the balloon left Montana and headed southwest across South Dakota and Nebraska. Since it was seen on camera over Sabetha, Kansas, at roughly 9:41 a.m. ET on Friday, ABC News has not confirmed any other sightings of the balloon.
Around 11 a.m. ET, when it was captured on camera, it appeared further east over Saint Joseph, Missouri. The balloon was visible on camera farther east, over Cameron, Missouri, between 11:56 and 12:28 ET.
It was taken in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, further south in the Kansas City metropolitan region, some 30 minutes later. According to a senior U.S. official familiar with the situation, the balloon appears to be moving toward North Carolina. The official predicted that the United States would wait until it was over the Atlantic Ocean before attempting to shoot it down and recover it.
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The balloon’s presence incited concern even though, according to the Pentagon, it was “travelling at an altitude substantially above commercial air traffic” and did “not provide a military or physical threat to persons on the ground.”
Acknowledging ownership of the balloon on Friday, China claimed it was a civilian airship used for meteorological research that got lost due to severe weather. And late on Friday, the Pentagon reported the discovery of a second Chinese surveillance balloon, this one over Latin America.