A pilot snapped a close-up pic of the infamous Chinese spy balloon before it was shot down.
The photo was taken from the cockpit of the Lockheed U-2 he was flying on February 3 and shows the top of his helmet as the balloon floated below.
The Pentagon released the image on Wednesday (February 22), less than three weeks after the alleged spy device was shot down by the US Air Force.
The balloon caused a frenzy after it entered US airspace on January 28, flying at 60,000ft north of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, according to senior military officials, before one of the first sightings of the colossal vessel was reported on February 1 in Reed Point, Montana.
The pilot’s photo was taken as the balloon “hovered over the Central Continental United States”, according to the caption provided by the US defence department.
It was finally shot down on February 4 off the coast of South Carolina by an F-22 fighter jet.