Suspected Chinese spy ballon was 200ft tall – US
A suspected Chinese spy balloon that was shot down off the US coast was about 200 ft tall and carrying an airliner-sized load, officials say.
The size and make-up of the object were the reason it was not shot down over land, a US defence official said.
“Picture large debris weighing hundreds if not thousands of pounds falling out of the sky,” Gen Glen VanHerck said.
The US is still attempting to recover the debris off the coast of South Carolina, covering a roughly 1,500m (4,920 ft) by 1,500m sized area, but it is thought debris is spread over a far larger site.
The US believes the object is a spy balloon but China says it is a weather monitoring device that had blown astray.
Spy balloon shot down
Multiple fighter jets were involved in the operation, but only one jet took the shot on Saturday at 14:39 local time to bring the balloon down. It scattered debris off the US coast.
“They have recovered some remnants off the surface of the sea and weather conditions did not permit much undersea surveillance of the debris field,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Monday.
He said US personnel would “in the coming days be able to get down there and take a better look at what’s on the bottom of the ocean, but it’s just started”.
There is no plan to give the remnants back to China, officials said, adding the debris will be analysed by intelligence experts.