US Navy releases photos of recovered remains of Chinese balloon

Washington, Feb 7 (EFE).- The US Navy on Tuesday released several photos of the operations to recover the remains of the Chinese “spy” balloon, which US fighter jets shot down on the weekend over shallow water just off the South Carolina coast.

In the four photos one can see sailors from a Navy explosive disposal team on board a small boat at the moment a large piece of white fabric with a metallic structure attached was removed from the water.

One of the photos shows a navy frigate in the background near the boat.

The Navy said on its social network pages that the photos were taken last Sunday just off Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, adding that the balloon debris is spread over seven miles of ocean.

The debris field itself is about 1,500 meters by 1,500 meters (a little less than one square mile), according to the Navy.

NORAD commander Gen. Glen VanHerck told journalists in a conference call that recovery efforts are being undertaken by the USS Carter Hall, a Navy vessel, which is on the scene where the balloon hit the ocean, along with a Pathfinder vessel, which is equipped with side-scan radar and is being used to scan the ocean floor and create a map of the area, the depth of which is about 45 feet.

President Joe Biden was notified a week ago that the Chinese balloon was moving into US airspace at a height of about 60,000 feet and since then the military monitored it as it transited most of the country in a relatively straight path from Montana over Missouri and then to the South Carolina coast.

Concerns arose about the balloon among US officials and the military because Montana is home to a number of US airbases, along with ICBM missile bases. It is not yet clear whether the balloon was a “spy” balloon, but China has said it was simply a weather monitoring balloon that went off course.

The balloon equipment will be analyzed by the US military and intelligence officials to determine what type of data it was attempting to collect.

EFE –/bp

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