Where the Chinese surveillance balloon was spotted
Government officials closely follow a huge surveillance balloon believed to have originated in China as it travels across the United States
The white balloon, which the Chinese Foreign Ministry claims is used for meteorological purposes, is at an altitude of around 60,000 feet with a vessel described as the size of three buses, officials said.
According to US officials, the balloon traveled west of Alaska, south over the Aleutian Islands, over water in southwestern Canada, and then over Montana.
Social media sightings have surfaced as the ball moves southeast across the continental United States
One of the first sightings confirmed by ABC News was around 4:21 p.m. ET Wednesday in Reed Point, Montana.
More than two hours later, around 6:46 p.m. ET, it was filmed east of Reed Point in Billings, Montana. Further footage captured it over Billings over the next hour as civilians wondered what the object was.
From Montana, the balloon traveled southwest through South Dakota and Nebraska, according to US officials.
ABC News did not confirm any further sightings of the balloon until around 9:41 a.m. ET Friday, when it was filmed over Sabetha, Kansas.
More than an hour later, it appeared further east over Saint Joseph, Missouri, where it was filmed around 11 a.m. ET.
Video footage captured the balloon further east, over Cameron, Missouri, between 11:56 a.m. and 12:28 p.m. ET.
About 30 minutes later, it was shot further south in the Kansas City metro area at Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
The ball appears to be headed for North Carolina, according to a senior US official familiar with the situation. The United States will likely wait until it is over the Atlantic Ocean and then try to shoot it down and recover it, the official said.
ABC News’ Layla Ferris, Cheryl Gendron, Kerem Inal, Chris Looft, Josh Margolin and Luis Martinez contributed to this report.