Chinese Balloon in South Carolina

Tatianna Jewell, Staff Writer/Media Production

The Chinese weather balloon phenomenon has been spreading throughout the United States (U.S.) like wildfire.

On February 4, 2023, South Carolina residents, including myself, observed the balloon floating high in the sky above their houses and businesses. Peers were posting about the balloon on their social media from different positions across Horry County and surrounding areas.

Once the news arrived about what was happening, my family grew curious. We ran outside to investigate what was happening. As we looked up, we observed the Chinese weather balloon above our house. Accompanying the ballon were multiple jets.

As time went by, we got cold, so we went back inside. I hadn’t noticed that my father stayed behind to keep watching until I heard a distant shouting from him that the balloon was just shot down with a missile!

“The missile was so fast; it was swerving in a zigzag formation until it finally hit the balloon, and I watched the balloon explode into a cloud of smoke. That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said my father.

Many have developed theories about what exactly was inside the balloon. News stations, such as Fox News and CNN, have reported the balloon was sent over for the purpose of spying on U.S. military bases. Others say that the balloon was full of weather equipment that weighed as much as a tractor-trailer. A U.S. Air Force fighter in an F-22 Raptor safely shot down the balloon with a Sidewinder air-to-air missile off the coast of South Carolina. Luckily, nobody was hurt in any part of this mystery balloon debacle. 

Fox News interviewed Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary. She mentioned in the interview that under the Trump administration, three other surveillance balloons have made their way over the U.S. 

The main question that keeps coming up about the Chinese weather balloon is what the actual use of it was and how it drifted into United States airspace. China has stated that it accidentally floated over the U.S. and was strictly for meteorological use. 

What is going to happen next? Many still do not know why this balloon traveled over. The best we can do now is wait until the government releases the real reason. In the meantime, I will stay tucked into my blanket on the couch, watching the news and continuing to be curious.