ST. LOUIS, Mo. — On Wednesday, a huge balloon thought to be from China was seen over Billings, Montana. US officials are tracking it as it flies over the continental United States. Chances are good that you could see it over the Midwest soon if it stays in the air.
The balloon was visible in the St. Louis area from around 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday.
Bommarito Automotive Group SkyFOX helicopter flew over the St. Louis area. It captured exclusive images of what appears to be a high altitude balloon in the sky.
The helicopter crew spotted the balloon as soon as they took off. This was looking west as the giant white balloon shot through the sky around 2:45 p.m. We’re told it’s the size of three greyhound buses.
A four engine jet aircraft is also in the St. Louis airspace. The North American Aerospace Defense Command had no comment on the jet aircraft spotted in the sky.
A lot of people are on edge Friday. The National Weather Service in Kansas City has been getting reports at around noon of a high-altitude balloon visible on the horizon. They say the object is not a US National Weather Service balloon. It is currently traveling southeast a 60,000 feet with 75 mph winds.
It may be approaching Nashville, Tennessee, by this evening. It is visible from a great distance because the balloon is so high in the atmosphere. This is an estimate based on elevation and airspeed. The balloon may also be steerable and could change direction.
“We have received zero communication from the Biden Administration regarding reports of the suspected Chinese spy balloon now flying over Missouri. We have heard no explanation or plan to remove it. Why has this been allowed to reach our heartland? Why has it not been eliminated? We will remain in contact with our Missouri National Guard, law enforcement, and security partners to monitor the safety of Missourians,” tweets Missouri Governor Mike Parson.
“The idea that Communist China has a spy balloon headed towards Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri right now — the home of the Stealth Bomber — is absolutely unbelievable. No American should accept this. I don’t,” states Missouri US Senator Eric Schmitt.
Meteorologist Chris Higgins produced this forecast using the HYSPLIT model of the object’s location using the last two approximate locations of the balloon sightings, near Kansas City and Columbia.
China claims that the balloon was a weather research “airship” that had blown off course. The Pentagon rejected that out of hand — and China’s contention that the balloon, about the size of two school buses, was not being used for surveillance and had only limited navigational ability.
The balloon was first seen over sensitive military sites in Montana. By midday, it was over the heartland of the central United States, moving east. Officials said it was likely to stay in U.S. airspace for several days. Whiteman Air Force Base is located in central Missouri. It is a part of the US strategic nuclear deterrence program.
President Joe Biden declined to comment on the matter when questioned at an economic event. Two 2024 reelection challengers, former President Donald Trump, and Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador, said the U.S. should immediately shoot down the balloon.