PHOTOS: Navy releases pictures of Chinese surveillance balloon recovery off Myrtle Beach coast
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – The U.S. military w Tuesday along the Grand Strand coast searching for remnants of a Chinese surveillance balloon.
Military officials said they will continue their search until every piece of debris is collected from the balloon that was shot down Saturday along the Myrtle Beach coast.
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U.S. Fleet Forces released new pictures on Tuesday showing sailors assigned to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 recovering the high-altitude surveillance balloon.
“EODGRU 2 is a critical part of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Force that clears explosive hazards to provide access to denied areas; secures the undersea domain for freedom of movement; builds and fosters relationships with trusted partners, and protects the homeland,” according to the U.S. Fleet Forces Command post.
Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command and U.S. Northern Command, provided an update on Monday, stating the debris field that is about 15 football fields long and wide.
He said that precautions are being taken in case there are any explosives or toxic substances present in the balloon.
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VanHerck added that the recovery operations focus is on the heavier parts of the balloon that are at the bottom of the ocean. He estimated that the balloon was up to 200 feet tall and weighed about 2,000 pounds.
The balloon was first spotted over Alaska on Jan. 28, according to the Department of Defense, and then made its way across the United States before it was shot down Saturday afternoon by an F-22 Raptor fighter over the Atlantic Ocean.
China has insisted that the balloon was a civilian airship that was used for meteorological research and had gone off course due to winds and had limited “self-steering” capabilities.
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