US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said: “We’re hopeful that it will land in a place where it won’t harm anyone.
“Hopefully in the ocean, or someplace like that.”
The Chinese government has downplayed the severity of the incident, saying it is unlikely to land on populated areas or a plane in the sky.
Foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, said on Friday: “The probability of causing harm to aviation activities or on the ground is extremely low.”
Commentary in the country’s media has described Western reports about the potential hazards involved as “hype” and predicted the debris will likely fall somewhere in international waters.