MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A ground stop at Myrtle Beach International Airport that was issued due to a suspected Chinese spy balloon making its way across the area has been lifted, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Get a picture of the balloon passing through the Pee Dee or Grand Strand? Email it to with the location it was taken and we may use it on-air and online.

The ground stop was scheduled to be in effect until 5:15 p.m., according to the FAA. The ground stop was issued due to “security” reasons.

Ground stops were also been issued for Charleston International Airport and Wilmington International Airport, according to the FAA.

China insists the balloon is just an errant civilian airship used mainly for meteorological research that went off course due to winds and has only limited “self-steering” capabilities.

The United States says it is a Chinese spy balloon without a doubt. Its presence prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to cancel a weekend trip to China that was aimed at dialing down tensions that were already high between the countries.

The Pentagon says the balloon, which is carrying sensors and surveillance equipment, is maneuverable and has shown it can change course. It has loitered over sensitive areas of Montana where nuclear warheads are siloed, leading the military to take actions to prevent it from collecting intelligence.

A Pentagon spokesman said it could remain aloft over the U.S. for “a few days,” extending uncertainty about where it will go or if the U.S. will try to safely take it down. And late Friday, the Defense Department acknowledged reports of a balloon flying over Latin America — assessed as “another Chinese surveillance balloon.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Kevin Accettulla is the digital executive producer at News13. Kevin is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He joined the News13 team in March 2020 after nearly two years at a sister station in Pennsylvania. Follow Kevin on Twitter and read more of his work here.