Chinese spy balloon sighting cropped

Steve Inmon spotted what appears to be the balloon from his Columbia-area home Saturday.

The high-altitude Chinese balloon making national news this week passed over the Midlands Saturday before being shot down off the South Carolina coast by the U.S. military.

Several people in the Northeast Columbia area spotted the balloon, including Steve Inmon, owner of Liquid Assets, who captured photos and video.

Multiple sightings of the balloon were also reported in Charlotte and elsewhere in the Carolinas, leading to the Federal Aviation Administration pausing flight departures and arrivals at airports in Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Wilmington.

“The FAA has paused departures to Wilmington (ILM), Myrtle Beach International (MYR) and Charleston International (CHS) airports to support the Department of Defense in a national security effort,” a spokesperson for the FAA said in a statement released Saturday morning.

That national security effort turned out to be shooting down the balloon, which according to the FAA was flying at around 60,000 feet and was about the size of three school buses.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted at 2:57 p.m. to say "Shortly after noon today, I was briefed by the Pentagon on plans to shoot down the Chinese spy balloon once it was safely off our coast. It appears that has just happened."

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