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U.S. Shoots Down Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon; Bitter Wind Chills Hammer the Northeast. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired February 06, 2023 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: What`s up, lovely people. Hope you had a wonderful weekend. I`m Coy Wire. This is CNN 10, and we`re grateful to be

here to help you make this an awesome week.

First up today, the latest on the dramatic takedown of a suspected Chinese spy balloon that had been flying across the United States over the past few

days. The U.S. government ordering an F-22 fighter jet to use a heat- seeking missile to blast the balloon out of the sky, and that`s exactly what happened on Saturday. Some witnesses were caught off guard by the

delayed sound of the explosion. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That plane just -- had a strike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t see the balloon anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just got it on video. I did, all right? The balloon is gone.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa! Did you hear that? Are you still video?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am still videoing. The sound just hit us.


WIRE: Okay. So how did we get here? Well, last week, the U.S. government confirmed it had been tracking the 90-foot balloon which was first spotted

over Montana on Wednesday. The suspected spy balloon from China even flew over a number of sensitive U.S. military sites over the course of a few


China`s defense ministry spokesperson though has protested the shoot down saying the balloon was a civilian weather aircraft which flew off course by

accident, but U.S. officials maintained that the balloon was being used for surveillance purposes.

There was much debate about what the U.S. should have done about the balloon, including calls to shoot it down immediately with critics of

President Biden saying the decision to allow the balloon to fly over the country for days was, quote, weak. But top U.S. military officials have

said that the balloon posed no military risk and that they were taking steps to protect against any collection of sensitive information, and they

wanted to wait until the balloon was over water to protect civilians from any potential falling debris after a shoot down.

So, on Saturday, the U.S. military did shoot that balloon down off the coast of South Carolina. Afterwards, China saying that the U.S. government

overreacted and seriously violated international practice. The U.S. secretary of state had canceled a trip to China after the appearance of the

balloon on Thursday, so this event is causing even more tension between the two nations.

A second balloon carrying similar surveillance equipment has been seen flying over Central and South America and a senior U.S. defense official

said Saturday that China flew surveillance balloons over the United States in three instances during the Trump administration but never for this long.

All of this is raising questions about these aircraft and the threat they might pose.

Here`s CNN White House correspondent Arlette Saenz with more.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden told his top military leaders in a meeting on Wednesday to shoot down that Chinese spy

balloon transiting over the U.S. as soon as possible. The president heard advice from military leaders who warned that shooting anything down over

land, over ground could pose a risk to American lives so ultimately the president heeded their advice and waited to have this balloon shot down

until it was over the waters on Saturday afternoon. President Biden was briefed on those final plans, Friday evening.

And ultimately, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin gave that final go-ahead shortly after noon on Saturday. Now, the president was flying on Air Force

One from Syracuse, New York, to Maryland, and was on the phone with his top officials as this operation was underway. And here`s what he had to tell

reporters about the considerations given to that decision.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On Wednesday, when I was briefed on the balloon, I ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down on

Wednesday as soon as possible. They decided -- without doing damage to anyone on the ground, they decided that the best time to do that was they

got over water outside -- within our -- within the 12-mile limit. They successfully took it down and I want to compliment our aviators who did it

and we`ll have more to report on this a little later. Thank you.

REPORTER: Mr. President, what do you say about China? What`s your message to China?

REPORTER: You were saying the recommendation from your -- was from your national security --

BIDEN: I told them to shoot it down.

REPORTER: Oh Wednesday?

BIDEN: On Wednesday.

REPORTER: But the recommendation --

BIDEN: They said to me, let`s wait until the safest place to do it.

SAENZ: Republicans were quick to criticize President Biden for not taking steps to down this balloon sooner. Republicans have argued that this is a

sign of weakness in the White House`s approach towards China.

But the White House has pushed back, saying that this was a responsible action for a commander-in-chief to take. They are arguing that what the

president was trying to do was prioritize saving American lives.

Now, there are lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who are calling for briefings and hearings into this matter and the so-called Gang of Eight

congressional leaders will receive a briefing from Biden administration officials next week, as there are still so many outstanding questions about

how this incident unfolded.



TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the portion of this balloon that investigators want to get their hands on, that payload -- a central core

and what looked like a couple of solar arrays on either side. When the balloon was destroyed, you could clearly see it falling away below.

Now if this had the mass of a human like a skydiver, it might be falling at 100, 150 miles an hour, something like that. If it had the mass of a couple

of cars, its terminal velocity might have been more like 500 miles an hour or up from that. What that means is when it got to this area, just off

Myrtle Beach, the water would be essentially like concrete, it would hit it with tremendous force and be absolutely misshapen, torn apart, broken up by

this impact.

What does that mean to recovery? What it means is the first thing they have to do when they get settled out there is get divers down 47 feet down.

That`s good. That`s a good workable depth.

There, they have to look at this, figure out how many pieces it`s in, where they are, assess it, figure out if some of it is buried down in the muck

below, and then come up with a list of priorities. What do they want to bring up first? How do they want to bring it up to protect all of this as

much as they can and how long it`s going to take?

These operations typically are longer than most people expect even though they believe this one could be pretty fast. Think of it this way, this is

like an underwater crime scene now, and they have to protect their evidence as best they can if they want to learn all they can about this balloon.


WIRE: Ten-second trivia:

Which of these locations holds the current record for the highest officially registered temperature?

Kuwait, Iran, California, or Texas?

California`s Death Valley hit 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913, at a location appropriately named Furnace Creek Ranch.

Right now, it is far from blazing in the United States, especially in the Northeast where there have been record low temperatures this past weekend.

Take a look at these numbers, a cold front brought dangerous wind chill temperatures throughout New York, the New England states, and up into

Canada. This cold front comes a week after an ice storm in Texas canceled flights and left hundreds of thousands of homes without power.


GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Record low at temperatures across the region, but here in New York City, right outside of Central Park, people

have been doing what they do best here in New York. They have been braving the elements all day. I`ve been speaking with tourists and New Yorkers who

are unfazed by the cold temperatures.

All day, I`ve been watching my friend here Gamal (ph) who is running this hot dog cart here. He had a hard time this morning trying to get it set up

because his generator had actually frozen, the oil in the gas that was inside of it. He had a hard time getting it set up.

And he`s told me that business is a little bit slow today, right? Not so good not many people out here in these cold temperatures, and just take a

look -- this bottle of water -- frozen solid. It has been frozen all day. That should give you an idea of just how cold it is here.

But as I said, New Yorkers, those who are visiting for the most part taking it in stride. If you are going to go outside in these very cold

temperatures, to dress appropriately, wear your layers and if you don`t need to, it`s probably best to stay home.


WIRE: And for today`s story getting a 10 out of 10, let`s go to Mount Washington, New Hampshire, where it was colder than a polar bear`s toenail.

Coldest wind chill ever recorded in the United States, negative 108 degrees Fahrenheit. This happened over the weekend, wind gusts reaching 98 miles

per hour. That would be like a category 2 hurricane.

Experts say it would take less than 60 seconds to get frostbite in those temperatures. One meteorologist there said that his wrist was exposed

between his coat and gloves and it felt like being continuously stung by a bee. That is unbeelievably cold.

All right. You already snow what time it is. Shout out to Bucks County Technical High School in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania -- rise up. We only

get 86,400 seconds in a day, and when they`re gone, they`re gone forever. So live with a sense of urgency today. Don`t take any moment for granted.

I`m Coy Wire, headed to Phoenix. So I`ll see you from there tomorrow, right here on CNN 10.