The US military has downed the suspected Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean, a US official says.
President Joe Biden approved shooting down the balloon, the same US official told CNN.
Navy assets and Coast Guard assets are on standby if required for any possible recovery efforts, a defense official told CNN prior to the balloon being shot down.
The balloon was first spotted in the sky over Montana earlier this week and traveled across the middle of the country, following weather patterns before it exited the continental United States on Saturday.
Prior to the balloon being shot down, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop for airports in Wilmington, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The FAA also restricted airspace near Myrtle Beach “to support the Defense Department in a national security effort.”
Top military officials had advised against shooting down the balloon while over the continental US because of the risk the debris could pose to civilians and property on the ground, but officials had maintained that all options remained on the table.
Earlier Saturday, Biden had told reporters in Syracuse, New York, that his administration was “gonna take care” of the balloon when asked by CNN if the US would shoot it down. He had been discussing options with military brass since first being briefed on the balloon Tuesday.
On Friday, the Pentagon said the balloon did not pose a military or political threat.
China's Foreign Ministry has said the balloon entered US airspace by accident. But the State Department has said the presence of the balloon over US territory was "a clear violation of our sovereignty as well as international law, and it is unacceptable that this has occurred."
The discovery of the balloon prompted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone his highly anticipated diplomatic visit to China, saying the incident "created the conditions that undermine the purpose of the trip."
CNN's Pete Muntean contributed reporting to this post.