Chinese Spy Balloon May Have Carried Explosives

The Department of Defense has revealed that the Chinese spy balloon may have been carrying explosives for a self-destruct purpose, according to The Right Scoop. The DOD added that the balloon, which weighed around 2,000 pounds and was 200 feet tall, carried a payload the size of a jetliner.

The commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM, Gen. Glen VanHerck, revealed during a Monday press conference that naval vessels were combing the area where the balloon was shut down on Saturday, with U.S. forces prepared for the possibility of explosives on the balloon. VanHerck, however, revealed that the preparation was done out of caution and not any corroboration or confirmation of explosives on the balloon.

VanHerck revealed that the USS Carter Hall is in the sea collecting and categorizing debris from the balloon while the USS Pathfinder is using unmanned underwater vehicles to produce a map of the suspected debris field.

National Security Council coordinator John Kirby confirmed to reporters on Monday that the remnants of the balloon on the surface of the sea have been recovered. Kirby added that weather conditions did not give much room for underwater surveillance of the debris field.

“They think the debris field is about 15 football fields by 15 football fields square,” Kirby said. “And so it’s sizable, but they’ve identified that, and they think that in perhaps even today, but certainly in the coming days, they’ll be able to get down there and take a better look at what’s on the bottom of the ocean.”

The DOD released the first images from the search on Tuesday. The images showed U.S. naval personnel hauling parts of the balloon from the waters of Myrtle Beach, according to The New York Post.

The Post reported that pieces of the balloon would be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory at Quantico, Virginia, to be examined by the agency and other counterintelligence authorities in order to understand the type of sensors the Chinese were using and the balloon’s maneuverability.