US Navy divers began pulling up the wreckage of a suspected Chinese spy balloon from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday using sophisticated reconnaissance drones to locate the wreckage.
After gathering all the white fabric and the outer structure of the balloon that was floating on the surface, the Navy is conducting an underwater search for the remains of the huge balloon, which was shot down on Saturday by a US fighter plane off the coast of South Carolina, officials reported.
Navy and Coast Guard personnel used underwater drones to locate and map the field of fragments, with divers pulling out what they could, they added.
The fragments already recovered were transported by small boats to some places in the area, such as a Coast Guard station south of Myrtle Beach and, depending on the size, they will be sent to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, or other places where experts can analyze them, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The head of the US Northern Command, General Glen VanHerck, who is in charge of recovery efforts, and several federal government officials will brief members of Congress on the balloon on Wednesday and Thursday.
Lawmakers have raised a number of questions about whether the balloon was able to collect information and transmit it to China during the time it flew over the United States, after crossing the border from Canada into Idaho.
White House and Pentagon officials have largely avoided giving details about the balloon’s capabilities.
Others said Tuesday that the United States was well aware of the sites the globe crossed, including nuclear missile silos and other military installations, and that it knows how to protect them from any intelligence gathering.
Even if the balloon was capable of transmitting, it was not getting any new or important information to send, they claimed.
Officials were unwilling to provide information on what has been done to investigate the balloon’s collection and transmission capabilities.
The balloon, roughly 60 meters in diameter, carried a long sensor package on its underside, which VanHerck estimated to be the size of a small airplane.
US counterintelligence teams hope to find out much more about the sensors and other equipment on the globe once they recover and study it.
Source: VOA Español