US Navy Works to Recover Spy Balloon Remains

US Navy Works to Recover Spy Balloon Remains

( – The Department of Defense (DOD) held a press conference on February 6 to address the Chinese balloon the US military recently shot down. Gen. Glen VanHerck, who serves as commander for the United States Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, answered questions about the takedown and recovery effort.

VanHerck confirmed several Navy ships searched for pieces of the balloon after it went down. One of their ships, The Pathfinder, includes equipment and technology that can survey the ocean floor and provide officials with a virtual debris field map. The general stated they expect the wreckage to span the length of 15 football fields, with debris littering an area equally as wide.

The balloon measured about 200 feet tall and approximated the size of a jet airliner. Recovery crews must literally find and identify tons of material, with some pieces “weighing hundreds if not thousands of pounds.” The US general assured the public that the military has already recovered the bulk of the debris, but it has a lot of space to scour before it can declare the job done.

Experts still haven’t had a chance to assess all potential threats, such as batteries, explosives, and other hazardous materials the balloon might have conveyed. VanHerck noted that currents in the ocean could move rogue materials from the crash site to nearby shores, and out of precaution, civilians should not attempt to recover any of the debris themselves. Instead, concerned citizens should contact their local officials, who can take the appropriate actions.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry for the People’s Republic of China shared its own press release on the same day. The Chinese representative insisted the government deployed the destroyed craft “for meteorological and other research purposes.” They accused the United States of “deliberate[ly] hyping up” the craft, adding that the violent takedown was “unacceptable and irresponsible.”

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