The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stopped flights at three airports on Saturday afternoon because of an apparent national security risk in the area.
The airports are all along the Carolina coastline—Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and Wilmington. The airports will remain closed until at least 2:45 p.m. EST Saturday and air traffic is currently being rerouted from the area. Passengers flying through those airports should expect delays on Saturday.
"The FAA has paused departures from and arrivals to Wilmington (ILM), Myrtle Beach International (MYR) and Charleston International (CHS) airports to support the Department of Defense in a national security effort," it said in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
Reports from the Associated Press and NBC News cited potential plans for the White House to shoot down a large Chinese balloon that has been spotted in several places across the U.S., starting with Montana earlier in the week. The balloon was last seen over the Carolinas on Saturday morning.
The balloon, according to The Pentagon, was flying at about 60,000 feet in the air and is the size of about three school buses, large enough to cause danger for people on the ground if it is shot down.