GREENSBORO, N.C. — Maddie Bushey-Raines did not plan to spend the weekend in North Myrtle Beach. She and her wife decided to visit family on a whim. She ended up capturing a viral moment.
Bushey-Raines, who lives in Greensboro, watched as U.S. fighter jets shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the South Carolina coast.
"I turned around, and it was kind of just up in the sky," Bushey-Raines said.
She said she didn't think anything was going to happen. She heard the FAA grounded all flights. Her wife, Carrie, then told her she saw on CNN that the U.S. was preparing to shoot it down.
Bushey-Raines decided to hang out in a parking lot and see what followed. One by one, she watched as more fighter jets flew closer to the balloon.
"I said 'I feel like they're about to shoot it down,' so I just started rolling," Bushey-Raines said.
What happened was seen by people all over the internet. The U.S. military shot down the balloon it first started tracking Tuesday.
The surveillance device crossed over parts of North and South Carolina Saturday before going out over the Atlantic Ocean.
Bushey-Raines said it took about 15 seconds for the explosion to cross the sound wave and make it back to the ground. She said the parking lot erupted with excitement after that.
"Everyone just started chanting USA," Bushey-Raines said. "The store next door started playing "Born in the U.S.A." It was a really patriotic moment for us."
The gravity of the moment didn't hit Bushey-Raines until after it all happened. She said it didn't seem important at first. It soon became clear that wasn't the case.
She said she didn't expect to capture a small piece of history. Bushey-Raines started filming, hoping to get the explosion on video, so she could share with her family. She's just happy now that anyone who wasn't there can get a glimpse on what it was like where it happened.