Navy divers recovering Chinese balloon debris

Navy divers are now performing the “fairly easy” task of recovering the remnants of the Chinese spy balloon shot down over the Atlantic, as the entire Senate is set to be briefed on China next week.

The balloon was shot down by a F22 fighter jet over Myrtle Beach, SC, and landed in just 47 feet of water, which should make its recovery relatively easy, US officials said.

Cops in Horry County, where the balloon was shot down near, warned residents that “members of the US Military are coordinating to collect debris; however, fragments may make it to the coastline.”

Recovery ships are being used to scoop up the debris, which is spread out over 7 miles of ocean.

The Pentagon clearly wants to recover ever piece of the balloon it can, using the expertise of Navy divers to search the chilly waters, the New York Times reported.

Recovered debris will be provided to both intelligence officials and law-enforcement agencies for investigation, according to the Times.

“There are a number of US Navy and Coast Guard vessels establishing a security perimeter around the area where the balloon came to Earth,” the Department of Defense said in a statement. 

Photo of the balloon falling.
The remnants of the large balloon flutter toward the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday.

A image of the balloon before it was shot down.
The US military was tasked with shooting down the Chinese spy balloon.

A military official described the operation as “fairly easy” but did not provide a timeline for when it would be completed. 

The Navy has deployed multiple ships, including the destroyer USS Oscar Austin, the cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the USS Carter Hall, an amphibious landing ship, to support the recovery efforts.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Sunday that the full United States Senate will “receive a China briefing next week.

“The Department of Defense will brief us on the Office of Net Assessment’s (ONA) US-China overmatch study. This work by ONA is completed every few years and is intended to provide policymakers with details on how the US military stacks up against China,” he said in a press release.

“The parameters usually involve where we stand with respect to China on everything from surveillance capabilities, research and development, advance weapons systems, and other critical platforms that would allow for either side to have an upper hand in a toe to toe conflict.”

The USS Carter Hall is among the ships supporting debris recovery.
The USS Carter Hall is among the ships supporting debris recovery.
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Spe

The USS Philippine also is on the mission.
The USS Philippine also is on the mission.
U.S. Navy/

An infographic titled "What are spy balloons?"d
Spy balloons can operate off radar.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said Saturday that the decision to shoot the balloon down once it was over water “demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the [China’s] unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”

China’s foreign ministry previously said in a statement that the “U.S. had insisted on using force, obviously overreacting,” to what it called a weather balloon. It added that it had hoped the US would have handled the balloon “in a calm, professional and restrained manner.”

With Post wires

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