Park City man talks about watching Chinese balloon being shot down over his head in South Carolina

Feb 6, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: 5:16 pm
In this photo provided by Chad Fish, the remnants of a large balloon drift above the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of South Carolina, with a fighter jet and its contrail seen below it, Feb. 4, 2023. The downing of the suspected Chinese spy balloon by a missile from an F-22 fighter jet created a spectacle over one of the state's tourism hubs and drew crowds reacting with a mixture of bewildered gazing, distress and cheering. (Chad Fish via AP, File)
(Chad Fish via AP, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — A high-altitude Chinese balloon was shot down by a US F-22 Raptor fighter jet Saturday off the coast of South Carolina. A Park City resident saw it all happen in the sky over his head.

The balloon entered Alaskan airspace Jan. 28 and flew south over Canada before returning to US airspace over Idaho Jan. 31. China claims the balloon was for meteorological observation and had blown off course. But the United States said the balloon was on an intelligence-gathering mission, traveling above a number of sensitive military sites and missile silos, according to New Scientist

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said he lodged a formal complaint Sunday with the U.S. Embassy over the “U.S. attack on a Chinese civilian unmanned airship by military force,” according to The Associated Press.

‘Were we at war?’

Mike Rogers, who witnessed the spy balloon being shot down, is from Park City but was in South Carolina on Saturday. He joins KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to share what he witnessed in the sky.

Rogers said he was in Surfside, South Carolina building a deck near the beach when he looked up into the sky.

“We saw these jet trails just circling around over our heads. And there’s probably three F-22s flying around. And directly above my head was this white dot in the sky, and it was this spy balloon,” Rodgers said.

“So I just started taking taking a video of it. And sure enough, one of the F-22s turned around and came flying at it and shot a missile right above my head. It was profoundly, kind of — it was kind of scary because we didn’t know what was going on. And to see something like a missile being shot out of a plane, I mean, were we at war? I didn’t know what was going on,” Rodgers said.

Did you know it was the Chinese balloon?

“But did you know — had you read about the Chinese spy balloon floating across the US. When you looked up, did you know that’s what you were looking at when you saw that big white ball in the sky?” Debbie asked.

“I did not, but my friend who was working on the deck, he and his wife knew about it. And she called us and said, ‘Hey, a Chinese spy balloon is above you. Look up in the sky.’ So we looked up and that’s exactly what we saw,” Rodgers said.

‘Like someone shot a dart at it’

“When the missile went through the balloon, I didn’t see an explosion,” Dave said. “Was there an explosion afterwards?”

“There was no explosion. It was like someone shot a dart at it. . . It just kind of went through the balloon. And then we saw this black shrapnel and everything just falling out of the sky. And then the balloon kind of drifted away in the wind,” Rodgers said.

“How long did it take for it all to float down?” Dave asked.

“The shrapnel probably took about four or five minutes to come down. And the balloon, it took about 10 minutes to disappear from our sight. And it didn’t like literally fall to the ground. It like blew away,” Rodgers said.

Watch Chinese balloon fall back to Earth

Here is the video by Mike Rodgers of a US military jet shooting down the Chinese balloon on Saturday in South Carolina.


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

Related: China says it ‘reserves the right’ to deal with ‘similar situations’ after US shoot down suspected spy balloon

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Park City man talks about watching Chinese balloon being shot down over his head in South Carolina