“I did not anticipate waking up to be in a Top Gun movie today." That's the assessment of Ashlyn Preaux of South Carolina to the AP after Saturday's dramatic downing of a balloon launched by China. A missile from an F-22 fighter jet brought down the balloon over the tourist area of Myrtle Beach. (Watch the moment here.) Prior to that, locals and tourists alike were busy taking videos and photos of the balloon in the sky, notes USA Today. The US says it took down the balloon when it drifted over US territorial waters. Much of the debris came down in about 50 feet of water, and a US salvage ship and divers will be busy there over the next few days.
For the record, it was an AIM 9X sidewinder air-to-air missile that brought down the balloon, which the US calls a surveillance device and China calls a harmless weather balloon. The recovery of debris could settle the question. “It looked like stars falling down,” 12-year-old Logan Hardy tells the AP of the missile strike. “I will never forget this day.” (Read more balloon stories.)