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Rumor Check: Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon NEVER Crossed Over Oregon Coast

Published 02/04/23 at 5:29 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Rumor Check: Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon NEVER Crossed Over Oregon Coast

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(Oregon Coast) – The internet is part evil and dangerous, and part fun and thoroughly informative. But rumors and disinformation are of its dark side, and that's why it needs to be firmly stated that one whopper of a tale including the suspected Chinese spy balloon and this coastline are not true. The floating spy device did not cross over the Oregon coast at any time. (Above: the Chinese balloon caught on camera by the Kansas City office of NWS - see a clearer picture here)

Oregon Coast Beach Connection wishes to quell that rumor quickly. If you run across such a claim, it is not true.

Earlier this week, people in Montana spotted the large, white balloon with the naked eye, with photos showing a large solar power array below it. It was later revealed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as the military had been keeping track of it last week since it appeared in Alaska. U.S. officials uniformly agree it is a spy balloon, while China has claimed it is merely a civilian weather research device that was blown off course by west winds.

To avoid further internet misinformation, Oregon Coast Beach Connection will not show the sites responsible for the rumor, except to say they have made nebulous claims that it passed over the Oregon coast and as well as West Virginia. This would, naturally, make no sense as these are on opposite sides of the continent.

Rumor Check: Suspected Chinese Spy Balloon Did NOT Cross Over Oregon Coast
Tillicum Beach on Oregon coast, photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection

NOAA does not have the exact path, however it is known to have entered Canadian air space and the Canadian military had been watching it there as well.

Oregon Coast Beach Connection reached out to the National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Portland and Medford – both of which have extensive radar coverage over the Oregon coast and southern Washington coast. They work under the umbrella of NOAA.

It was the Medford office's Brian Nieuwenhuis that returned with the answer if the balloon had come across Oregon's or Washington state's shores.

“We are not aware of any reports over Oregon,” he told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “NOAA ran a reverse model to see the path the balloon likely took, and it suggests that the balloon passed well to the northeast of us.”

Other government agencies agree with the NWS graphic and path, including those in Canada. It shows the balloon first being picked up in Alaska, coming down through the Aleutian Islands, down the west coast of Canada, and into Montana where it was first noticed by residents on Wednesday.

Earlier today, it was photographed by the NWS office in Kansas City. The surveillance balloon is now steadily moving east, according to the Pentagon's Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder. Currently, meteorologists are keeping track of the suspected spy balloon as well as the military. Ryder said it is expected to be in U.S. skies for a few more days.

Ryder said the Biden administration wanted to shoot it down at first, but the president was strongly urged not to because of the potential damage to property below and a danger of falling debris to U.S. residents.

You can see further, deeper coverage at CBS or NBC. MORE OREGON COAST BELOW

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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