The Reporter (Vacaville)
Navy divers pulling up Chinese balloon debris
After collecting white fabric and shell structure, personnel were using underwater drones to map the debris field.
WASHINGTON >> Navy divers began pulling pieces of the downed Chinese spy balloon from the depths of the ocean floor Tuesday, using sophisticated reconnaissance drones dubbed the Kingfish and the Swordfish to locate the debris.
After collecting all of the balloon's white fabric and shell structure found floating on the surface, the Navy has shifted to an all-underwater search for the remnants of the massive balloon that a U.S. fighter jet shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday, officials said.
Navy and Coast Guard personnel were using underwater drones to locate and map the debris field, and divers were in the water gathering up what they could, officials said.
The debris already collected was being hauled by small boats to a few area locations, including a Coast Guard station south of Myrtle Beach, and, depending on the size, will eventually go either to the FBI lab at Quantico, Virginia, or other sites where experts can analyze it, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details of an ongoing military operation.
The head of U.S. Northern Command, Gen. Glen VanHerck, in charge of the recovery effort, and several Biden administration officials will brief members of Congress on the balloon today and Thursday.
Lawmakers have raised a number of questions about whether the balloon was able to collect intelligence and transmit it back to China during the time it traveled eastward across the United States, after crossing the border from Canada into Idaho.