According to reports, the explosion was filmed by residents near the city of Billings, but it's not clear what the object was since the spy balloon had already left the region and had been spotted in other states, including Missouri, where the country's only B-2 bomber base is located.
One person who shared a video of the incident, Dolly Moore, said she “saw a jet go by so fast and then explosion in the sky.”
“Ok, so here’s what I just caught I few minutes ago out my window. I saw a jet go by so fast and then explosion in the sky. Holy crap! Billings MT,” she noted on Twitter in a post along with the video clip.
Ok, so here’s what I just caught I few minutes ago out my window. I saw a jet go by so fast and then explosion in the sky. Holy crap! Billings MT. pic.twitter.com/swr8ERC6pf
— Dolly Moore (@MMtTreasures) February 4, 2023
Again, there is no indication that this was the Chinese spy balloon, but it is certainly odd that something like this occurred in the same vicinity as where the balloon was spotted earlier. It's possible, even, that this was a second balloon, though we have no information on that.
Earlier on Friday, China insisted that the balloon merely got off course and could not be guided, but the Pentagon said that was incorrect.
“The balloon is maneuverable,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters. “It violated the law. We communicated that to China.”
He said that shooting down the balloon “was taken into consideration,” but “because we assessed that currently, it does not pose a psychical or military risk to people on the ground, for now, we are continuing to monitor and review options.”
“What we’re not gonna do is get into an hour-by-hour location of the balloon,” the spokesman said.
“Does the public not have the right to know…?” a reporter said before the spokesman gave an inappropriately sarcastic answer.
“The public certainly has the ability to look up in the sky and see where the balloon is,” he said.
The Chinese government later put out a statement directly claiming ownership of the balloon.
“The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes,” a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated. “Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course.”
“The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace due to force majeure. The Chinese side will continue communicating with the US side and properly handle this unexpected situation caused by force majeure,” the spokesperson said.
“The United States Government has detected and is tracking a high altitude surveillance balloon that is over the continental United States right now. The U.S. government, to include NORAD, continues to track and monitor it closely. The balloon is currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground. Instances of this kind of balloon activity have been observed previously over the past several years. Once the balloon was detected, the U.S. government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information,” he added.
Republicans are angry that the Biden regime did little about the balloon initially.
“China’s brazen disregard for U.S. sovereignty is a destabilizing action that must be addressed, and President Biden cannot be silent,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Twitter. “I am requesting a Gang of Eight briefings.”
China’s brazen disregard for U.S. sovereignty is a destabilizing action that must be addressed, and President Biden cannot be silent.
I am requesting a Gang of Eight briefing. https://t.co/KarTCUzbOS
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) February 3, 2023