US Navy Rolls Out Photos of Retrieved Chinese Balloon Debris

US Navy Rolls Out Photos of Retrieved Chinese Balloon Debris

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The US Navy has released photos showing large debris of the Chinese balloon being hauled into a boat in waters off South Carolina.

According to the US Fleet Forces Command, the sailors retrieving the debris were part of the Navy's specialist explosives team, Sputnik reported.

US officials have described the balloon as a floating object, which is about 200 feet (60 meters) tall, with the payload portion comparable in size to regional airliners and weighing hundreds - or potentially thousands - of pounds.

The release of the photos came after the Pentagon announced late last week that US navy divers would try to recover all of the balloon wreckage, plus “any material of intelligence value” pertaining to the airship.

General Glen VanHerck, of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, told reporters that “the debris is in 47 feet (14 meters) of water, primarily” and that that would "make recovery fairly easy, actually”.

“We planned for much deeper water," VanHerck said, adding that the wreckage “would have fallen at least in a seven-mile (11km) radius”.

Department of Defense spokesman Pat Ryder has said in a statement that China had declined the US request to hold a call between Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and PRC Defense Minister Wei Fenghe after the US military downed the Chinese balloon.

The discovery of what the White House considers a “spy balloon” provoked a diplomatic crisis, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken immediately canceling a weekend trip to China over the "irresponsible act".

China, however, repeatedly insisted that the "airship is for civilian use and entered the US because of force majeure - it was completely an accident".

The US military shot down the Chinese balloon, which had previously been seen over Montana, off the coast of South Carolina. 

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