U.S. Navy sailors specializing in Explosive Ordnance Disposal have recovered the Chinese spy balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The U.S. military worked to collect the remnants of the high-altitude surveillance balloon on Monday after it was shot down by an F-22 fighter over the weekend. Rough seas initially thwarted debris collection.
The balloon fell approximately six miles off the coast in about 47 feet of water. No one was injured in the operation.
The U.S. Coast Guard said Monday it was imposing a temporary 10 nautical mile wide security zone near where the balloon went down “to protect the public “from potential hazards associated with physical objects.” The zone will be enforced through February 18.
Photos released by the Navy on Tuesday show the balloon being gathered onto boat on Sunday, February 5.
U.S. officials first detected the balloon on January 28 when it entered U.S. airspace near the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. The balloon then traversed Alaska and Canada before re-entering U.S. airspace over Idaho and making its way across the American Heartland to the coast.
President Joe Biden ordered the operation to shoot it down on Wednesday, but it was delayed until the balloon was over water off the coast of South Carolina to ensure Americans on the ground were not harmed.
China claims it was runaway weather balloon.
Participating in the recovery operation was the USS Carter Hall, an amphibious landing ship, and the USNS Pathfinder, a survey ship to map the ocean floor using sonar for the debris search. The Navy also deployed the destroyer USS Oscar Austin and the cruiser USS Philippine Sea.
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