U.S. Releases First Images of Chinese Balloon Debris Recovery Efforts

February 7, 2023

Our U.S. Navy component is currently conducting recovery operations, with the U.S. Coast Guard assisting in securing the area and maintaining public safety.

United States Northern Command Chief Gen. Glen VanHerck after the U.S. downed a Chinese balloon off the coast of South Carolina. On Monday, photos of the U.S. recovery efforts of the debris were released.

Background: An F-22 fighter jet shot down a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday after it floated over the U.S. last week. President Biden is said to have wanted the balloon to be shot down on Wednesday, though the military recommended to wait until the balloon was over a location where it could be brought down safely. China has repeatedly said the balloon was an unmanned civilian airship used for research, and has condemned the U.S. actions to shoot down the balloon.

Why It Matters: After being shot down, the balloon fell into about 45 feet of water with the field of debris being “approximately the size of 15 football fields by 15 football fields,” ABC News explains. The new photos released show U.S. Navy sailors working to recover this debris – estimated to weigh about 2,000 pounds in total. After the debris is recovered, it will be transferred to an FBI lab in Quantico, Virgina for intelligence gathering and analysis.

See the photos of the U.S. recovery effort HERE; Photos by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Thompson

Statement from Gen. Glen VanHerck, Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command

Navy releases close-up photos of Chinese surveillance balloon recovery (ABC News)

New images of the Chinese balloon recovery show the closest glimpse yet (The Washington Post)

by Jenna Lee,