Navy Releases First Images Of Chinese Surveillance Balloon Debris
A team of special Navy divers has recovered remnants of a Chinese surveillance balloon from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Surface recovery ships are being used to scoop up the debris while underwater drones locate debris fields for divers.
On Tuesday evening, the military service released the first images of the spy balloon that was shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday.
A team from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 was seen in images pulling the balloon fabric out of the water. US Fleet Forces Command provided images, according to Axios.
Ahead of the recovery effort, Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, told reporters Monday the balloon was massive, measuring 200 feet tall and had a payload weighing nearly a ton.
"From a safety standpoint, picture yourself with large debris weighing hundreds if not thousands of pounds falling out of the sky. That's really what we're kind of talking about.
"So glass off of solar panels, potentially hazardous material, such as material that is required for a batteries to operate in such an environment as this and even the potential for explosives to detonate and destroy the balloon that could have been present," VanHerck said.
AP News said the balloon debris would be shipped to two areas: a Coast Guard station south of Myrtle Beach and the FBI lab at Quantico, Virginia. These sites will allow experts to analyze Chinese technology.
Lawmakers have voiced concern that the 'weather balloon' was a spy balloon that could transmit information back to Beijing. Answers to those questions could be as soon as investigators are finished analyzing the debris.