Chinese balloon could be shot down once it reaches Atlantic Ocean: report
Photo by Max Brinton on Unsplash

The Biden administration may shoot down a Chinese balloon suspected of spying on the U.S. military once it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.

Administration officials told the Associated Press that it's not clear whether President Joe Biden had made a final decision, but he had discussed whether to bring down the suspected spy craft over the ocean where the remnants might be recovered and it posed less risk than over the ground.

The president considered bringing it down over land when first briefed on Tuesday, but Pentagon officials warned its potential to harm people on the ground outweighed the danger it posed from an intelligence standpoint.

The ballon was spotted over North Carolina on Saturday as it moved closer to the Atlantic coast.

Earlier today, police in North Carolina asked locals not to take "pot shots" at the balloon.

Gastonia police posted a notice on Facebook urging the public not to fire their guns into the air in hopes of bringing down the balloon, which was expected to pass over North Carolina on Saturday, and they also asked residents not to report sightings to them, reported Newsweek.

READ: 'Sorry, this is not a Chinese balloon'

"If the now infamous Chinese 'weather balloon' makes its way over Gastonia, please don't call the police to report it," police said in the post. "We don't have the capability to respond to an altitude of 60k feet to check it out. We are pretty sure the Feds would want us to stay out of it."

"And finally, please don't take pot shots at it with your handguns in an attempt to bring it down on your own," the post added.

Even if a shooter managed to hit the balloon with a gunshot from more than 60,000 feet away, experts say it's unlikely to be brought down by gunfire.