US – ATLANTIC OCEAN – The U.S. military began collecting the remnants of a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon shot down by an Air Force fighter over the weekend.
The U.S. military today began collecting the remnants of a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon shot down by an Air Force fighter over the weekend.
Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, said the recovery effort began about 10 a.m. Rough seas thwarted safe, comprehensive debris collection yesterday, he said.
On Saturday, an F-22 Raptor fighter from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, fired one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at the balloon, which had floated southeastward across the United States.
It fell about six miles off the coast of South Carolina into about 50 feet of water. No one was hurt.
Precautions are being taken during the salvage operation in case explosives or toxic substances are present, VanHerck said.
Due to changing ocean currents, it’s possible that some debris could escape notice and wash ashore. VanHerck said members of the public can be assist by informing local law enforcement personnel if they spot remnants of the balloon; they should not collect it themselves.