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Y-City News

Your Digital Source for Zanesville News

Y-City News

Local reporter captured Chinese Spy Balloon shootdown, subsequent events

Y-City News Reporter Jason Schaumleffel in front of the Navy’s LCAC-86 in Cherry Grove Beach on February 9, 2023.

Roughly a year ago when the Chinese Spy Balloon flew over the United States and was subsequently shot down off the Coast of South Carolina, Y-City News Investigative Reporter Jason Schaumleffel was the only non-local journalist on the scene to cover the entire sequence of events – from its appearance over Myrtle Beach to the eventually disembarkment of military personnel weeks later after all material had been salvaged from out at sea.

The incident remains a contentious matter between the two countries – which have both economically and militarily faced off in recent years in what is being dubbed the Second Cold War, due to the amount of resources and military might each side has levied against the other.

Now a year on, many details remain obscured as officials have walked back previous statements and have yet to publically acknowledge the full extent or purpose of the balloon, or why it ended up over the Contiguous United States.

An F-22 Raptor out of Langley Air Force Base in Virginia along with the Chinese Spy Balloon moments after takedown by a AIM-9X Sidewinder missile.

Schaumleffel, who was set to be in Cincinnati for multiple weeks, on behalf of Y-City News, to cover the federal trial of Perry County resident and former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Larry Householder, ended up not covering the trial, spending multiple months down south instead.

While there, Schaumleffel said, he read about the Chinese incursion into American Airspace but was shocked when the local news reported the balloon was spotted in Conway, South Carolina, miles inland from Myrtle Beach. Luckily, Schaumleffel had taken multiple professional cameras and lenses with him and was quickly able to capture the balloon as it made its way to and over Myrtle Beach. A few of those pictures, as well as a few videos, taken by Schaumleffel, were shared on the various Y-City News social media accounts.

At first, the balloon appeared to come unaccompanied, Schaumleffel recalled, but soon thereafter, military aircraft, including F-22 Raptors, could be seen circling the balloon, ready for the takedown.

At around 2:39 p.m., on February 4, 2023, one of the jets veered off and shot down the balloon causing debris to land in the ocean, some of which sunk in what was roughly 50 feet of water.

Schaumleffel said it was one of those lucky moments of being at the right place at the right time, just thankful he had his equipment with him.

“I had my cameras down there to capture birds on the beach and so it was pure luck that I had them with me when the balloon flew over,” Schaumleffel recalled.

The East Palestine train derailment on February 3, one day before the balloon’s demise, and the controlled explosion of five tanks of vinyl chloride, a hazardous material, the day after, caused a media frenzy, resulting in no national reporters making it down to Carolina Coast and Schaumleffel ended up being the only out-of-county reporter to cover the transpiring events over the following weeks.

“Surprisingly, most of the famous videos and photographs were syndicated from local affiliates or residents,” Schaumleffel said. “With a free schedule, I was able to capture everything undistracted by the regular hustle and bustle of the news business that often stops more investigative pursuits.”

Schaumleffel said that unfortunately some folks within China miscalculated America’s response to the incursion and what we’d do to them for what they were searching for, smiling as he said they learned their lesson about messing with America and would be ill-advised to try anything like that again, but didn’t disclose what that meant, joking that they’d likely read the story and know exactly what it meant.

A United States Navy LCAC takes off from Cherry Grove Beach after taking on supplies during the Chinese Spy Balloon Incident
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  • J

    JohnFeb 27, 2024 at 2:36 pm

    Don’t wait shoot them down as soon as they find them

  • D

    DwwFeb 27, 2024 at 12:30 pm

    No one should be able to fly objects over america