US navy releases photos of downed 'spy balloon' being pulled from Atlantic Ocean by sailors

7 February 2023, 22:17 | Updated: 8 February 2023, 04:25

The United States navy has released photos of the downed suspected Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by US fighter jets on Saturday.
The United States navy has released photos of the downed suspected Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by US fighter jets on Saturday. Picture: US Fleet Forces Command / Alamy

By Chris Samuel

The United States navy has released photos of the downed suspected Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by a US fighter jet on Saturday.

The device, which is believed by the US to be a Chinese surveillance balloon, was downed off the coast of South Carolina after authorities waited for it to be a safe distance away.

Members of the navy's explosives disposal group pulled the balloon out of the waters off the coast of Myrtle Beach.

The photos show sheets of white debris and black poles being handled by sailors, with officials describing the balloon as being roughly 60m tall and most likely weighing 71st.

Two navy ships, one with a crane for recovery, were sent for the removal. However, the photos show material being pulled by hand.

Read more: Ex-Prem star Christian Atsu 'was on 9th floor of building that collapsed' in earthquake before being pulled alive from rubble

Read more: Fawlty Towers is back: John Cleese announces reboot with daughter Camilla set to co-write script alongside Monty Python legend

The object will now be examined to determine what it is.

China has repeatedly insisted that the "airship is for civilian use and entered the US due to force majeure - it was completely an accident".

The object will now be examined to determine what it is.
The object will now be examined to determine what it is. Picture: US Fleet Forces Command

Beijing accused politicians and the media of taking advantage of the situation.

On Monday, a security zone was imposed in the waters to facilitate the military search and recovery operation.

A White House spokesperson said it's hoped intelligence will be gained by retrieving the balloon and as many of its components as possible.

The arrival of the object sparked a diplomatic crisis with US secretary of state Antony Blinken scrapping his visit to China as a result.

Pictures released today show sailors pulling the balloon from the water after it was shot down by US fighter jets.
Pictures released today show sailors pulling the balloon from the water after it was shot down by US fighter jets. Picture: US Fleet Forces Command

The much-anticipated visit to the world's second largest economy would have been the first such high level US-China meeting in the country in years.

But the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday that downing the balloon "obvious overreaction" that "seriously violated international conventions", and warned of "serious repercussions".

China threatens response after US shoots down spy balloon

Last week, the Pentagon said that a second Chinese spy balloon had been spotted - this time over Latin America.

Colombia's Air Force says an identified object - which is believed to be a balloon - was detected at above 55,000ft in the country's airspace on February 3.

It says the object was followed until it left the airspace, adding it did not represent a threat to national security.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

England lost to Spain in the Euro 2024 final

England's heartbreak as Spanish goal four minutes from time seals Euro 2024 final defeat

Prince William and Prince George at the Euro 2024 final

Smiling Prince George attends Euro 2024 final with Prince William as England face off against Spain

Kate with Charlotte at Wimbledon

Princess Kate looks radiant in purple as she presents Wimbledon trophy at men's final

Corey Comperatore was killed during the Trump rally attack.

Pictured: Man killed in shooting at Trump rally as he 'tried to shield family from bullets'

Carlos Alcaraz has retained his Wimbledon title

Carlos Alcaraz retains Wimbledon title as he beats Novak Djokovic for second year in a row

England are facing Spain in the final

England 1-2 Spain: Heartbreak for England as Spain win Euros 2024

Melania Trump shared an emotional statement on the incident

Melania Trump breaks silence after attempted assassination of husband Donald at rally

The wife and two daughters of racing commentator John Hunt were killed at their Hertfordshire home

Bereaved racing commentator John Hunt has fundraiser set up after wife and two daughters killed

Princess Kate has made just her second appearance since her cancer diagnosis - as she prepares to bestow the Wimbledon men's singles trophy at the All England Club.

Princess Kate arrives at Wimbledon as crowd applauds for royal's second engagement since cancer shock

Donald Trump was shot at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania yesterday

‘We will FEAR NOT’: Trump urges Americans to ‘stay united’ after attempted assassination

Graziano Di Prima has broken his silence

Strictly pro Graziano Di Prima allegedly 'spat, kicked and berated' Zara McDermott before sacking

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage at a campaign event in Butler, Pa., on Saturday, July 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Gunshots and a defiant fist: How the first attempted assassination against a Presidential candidate in 52 years unfolded

What will following the shooting of Donald Trump?

Donald Trump shot during campaign rally: Jon Sopel explains what it means for the US Presidential race

The nation is gripped by Euros fever

England expects! Nation gripped by Euros fever as fans prepare for historic final against Spain

Donald Trump has been shot through the ear at a rally in Pennsylvania - as one bystander was killed and two others were critically injured.

Pictured: Shocking scenes as gunman shoots Donald Trump during rally leaving one bystander dead

Liz Truss has reacted to her party's terrible election results

Liz Truss blames Tory election drubbing on Rishi Sunak ‘trashing her record’ before pointing finger at Tony Blair