Chinese balloon sightings reported over Kansas, Missouri

13 News at Six
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 2:30 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Pentagon confirms a Chinese balloon is passing from west to east across the U.S., and people in Kansas and Missouri say they’ve seen it.

The balloon first was detected Thursday over sensitive military sites in Montana. Friday morning, a viewer sent 13 NEWS a photo of a shiny object she spotted high in the skies northeast of Sabetha just before 9:30 a.m. Friday.

In a news conference Friday morning, Defense officials would not confirm the exact location of the Chinese balloon, saying only that it was over the central part of the U.S.

However, Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, said his office confirmed the Chinese balloon was over northeast Kansas. Additionally, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, appeared on Fox News to discuss the balloon.

“My staff is in contact with law enforcement officials,” Marshall posted on social media. “I condemn any attempts the Chinese make to spy on Americans. President Biden must protect the sovereignty of the U.S. whether it’s our airspace or the southern border.”

Gov. Laura Kelly announced just before 4 p.m. she had received similar reports, and that her team is in communication with Kansas’ federal delegation and the White House.

“I have received reports of the suspected Chinese spy balloon over NE KS,” Gov. Kelly confirmed. “If true, this provocation is alarming. My team is in communication with our federal delegation and has reached out to the White House to ensure we work together to protect the safety and security of Kansans.”

Northeast Kansans often ask questions when they spot weather balloons in the sky. However, the National Weather Service offices in Topeka, Kansas City, Omaha and Des Moines all responded on social media that the balloon people were seeing was not one of theirs. The NWS Kansas City office indicated their staff observed the balloon as well from their Pleasant Hill office.

The balloon’s presence prompted Pentagon accusations of spying. Secretary of State Antony Blinken abruptly canceled a high-stakes Beijing trip aimed at easing U.S.-China tensions.