US Recovering Payload from Chinese Balloon

( – The US military is recovering the payload of a Chinese spy balloon from the waters of the Atlantic this week, and the recovery operation may take longer than expected because of inclement weather.

US Coast Guard ships remain stationed at the location of the wreckage while military personnel recover the onboard equipment. The balloon floated across Canada and the US for a week before being shot down by a US fighter jet on February 4th.

The active recovery has been put on hold until Monday, February 13th, on account of the increasing rain and wind.

Described as “larger than four balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” the balloon’s equipment payload — still intact — is the size of a city bus. The package of equipment is still floating and will have to be taken aboard a ship by a large winch and crane.

Residents of Montana saw the balloon over their state before the Pentagon officially announced that the military was aware of its presence over the northern midwest. By that time, the balloon had already crossed the Bering Strait and had traveled over Canada’s Northwest Territories.

President Joe Biden claimed that he gave orders to shoot the balloon down on a Wednesday, but that “defense officials” decided to wait until the following Saturday when the balloon was over the Atlantic ocean.

The Communist Chinese government feigned outrage at the US shooting the balloon down, claiming the craft was a “civilian” and “meteorological” device. But US military officials insist the balloon was part of a Chinese military spy program.

China’s unmanned surveillance balloons can travel at twice the altitude of the highest-flying commercial jets, floating at up to 80,000 feet above sea level.

Rising seas are slowing the recovery effort; 29 to 35 mph winds are expected along with gale force winds, enough to damage or capsize recovery ships.

The USS Carter Hall has already returned to port with pieces of the balloon. More information will become available as research on the materials and the contents of the payload continues.

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